I can’t sleep because I just read an article on Business Insider about career advice that “no one wants to hear.”
Marc Andreessen responds to Jim Carrey’s commencement address about following what you love through a series of several tweets, stating that following your passion is dangerous and destructive career advice. He proves a good point by saying that better career advice would be to “do what contributes,” which is to focus on what benefits most people compared to oneself. If you read the rest of the article, Andreessen gives supporting tweets as to why that would be the better career.
From previous blog posts, I think you all know that I’m a very passionate person. I’ve loved my craft ever since I was old enough to understand it, and despite all my attempts to veer away from it, I keep coming back to the one thing that makes me feel bigger than myself. From my perspective, my art and my passion is a constant form of self-expression and even more importantly, an alternative venue to expose and make aware messages, concepts and mindsets that most of society keep in the dark. My craft encounters the controversial in a very personal and intimate way, often leaving audiences reeling and even more so, thinking.
I’ve also failed at my craft — most people do. I’ve gone weeks, hell — even months living from paycheck to paycheck, often even borrowing money from my parents at the lack of income. I’ve often left rehearsals aggravated and frustrated, knowing that I’m only as good as the performance I’ve presented the day before. I’ve gone through the hardships and toils of being a freelance artist, and I’ve heard it all too many times from my father that what I’m doing isn’t going to make me happy in the long run. And honestly, after experiencing ‘failure’ for a year, I can vouch that living that life is highly difficult and impractical.
What makes me think, though, is this — is the concept of career a black and white area as well? One person tells you to follow your passion, and the other person says otherwise. From the beginning of my life even until now, I find myself questioning why every choice has to be black and white: this or that, up or down, good or bad, right or wrong. Although I concede that some choices do require black-and-white answers, I don’t know if career choice is one of them. I think that the career world is so vast that black and white is even impossible to do; every day, I find new career choices popping up left and right, each getting more and more specific. It’s just like this iPhone app called Pixel People — an application that lets you splice different people with different careers, each career even more particular than the last. The career world is so collaborative that more and more, people find new ways to combine several careers and pioneer a new one that is just, if not more, relevant than before.
Is the world literally divided into people who follow their passions and people who don’t? I don’t think so. The career path I’m choosing is both passion-oriented and contributory, a career choice that lets me learn more and more about my craft and how it can possibly reach out to people as well. I also know of people in my craft who do the same thing, which is why certain crafts aren’t limited to just one occupation.
I was just irked at the fact that Andreessen mentions narcissism for following one’s passion. Although I do not speak for everyone who chooses to follow their passion, I know I do not follow mine purely for myself. Besides, what is life without passion? I think passion is what makes us human, what differentiates going through life and actually living. However, maybe there is a difference between following your passion only for yourself in comparison to following your passion for overall growth and making the world a better place.
What are your thoughts?