Follow your passion but don’t leave your profession behind

Marj Casal Handog
It’s possible to do the things you love without worrying about paying the bills

MANILA, Philippines – Follow your passion. Do what makes you happy. How many times have you heard these pieces of advice? Probably one too many. And by now, you probably haven’t followed any of it as well.

We can’t blame you. It’s so easy to say but it’s definitely not as easy to do. With a full-time job and a tiring commute going to and from the office, you only have so much time left in a day. And sometimes, all you want to do is eat, sleep, and do nothing to prepare yourself for another exhausting workday.

That’s why we often think that the only way to follow our passion is to quit the day job that’s taking so much of our time. We think that maybe if we finally have all the time in our hands, we can start painting again, playing gigs again or auditioning for theatre again. 

Quitting may look like the best thing you can do for yourself but it might actually lead to more problems. The first thing to consider is: do you have enough money to live without a regular salary? Are you capable of paying the bills for the next 6 months at least? Can you fund your passion?

Sure you have savings but how far will it take you? More importantly, how long will it last?

And money isn’t the only potential problem you might face here. A study conducted by researchers from Stanford University found that the infamous advice “follow your passion” can make you less successful. The study says that “urging people to find their passion may lead them to put all their eggs in one basket but then to drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry.”

This is why some people I know who quit their jobs to fend for themselves a.k.a pursue their passions usually end up going back to a more secure job. Nothing beats the safety net of a salary that you can expect to arrive twice a month.

But this is not to say you should forget about following your passions and dreams altogether. In fact, you should be doing that. That piece of advice just needs a slight tweak – follow your passion but don’t leave your profession behind. 

You probably want to ask: how? How exactly do I find the time to do that? Of course, there’s no easy way to do it. But the short answer is: you have to make time for it. 

Take Paul, for example. He has a very demanding full-time job as a tech manager. But outside of work, he still manages to pursue his passion for photography by covering concerts and gigs as a favor to friends. 

Rica also has a full-time job as a radio jock but outside of her regular hours, she’s a thriving freelance makeup artist.

It may mean longer days for them sometimes but studies show that taking up hobbies can make people more productive at work. It leads to reduced stress, improved physical health, and better work performance.

So, if you’re starting to feel uninspired by your job, quitting might not be the answer. Try taking up a hobby that suits your interests first. 

According to a survey among 18 to 34-year-olds commissioned by San Mig Light, yuppies nowadays are interested in music, movies and TV shows, and shopping and fashion. They are heavy consumers of these types of content thanks to Spotify, Netflix, and various online shopping apps.  

But maybe it’s time to be more than just a consumer. Maybe we should try, little by little, to be a more active participant. If you like listening to music and watching concerts, and you’re just as talented, why not make your own music or attend open mics? Or if you like to Netflix and chill, why not attend special screenings where you can discuss and share your thoughts with the director and producers of the film? 

This is what San Mig Light 7-2-1: an after-work movement would like to help you do. 

San Mig Light 7-2-1 (7 pm to 1 am) aims to encourage young professionals like you to have a life outside of work, literally. How? By providing you with a platform where you could follow your passion – after office hours. Instead of getting stuck in traffic or waiting in line for the MRT, why not use the time to do the things you really want to do? The night is young and so are you.

These pocket events that will come in the form of open mics, special screenings, local fairs, and other creative formats. 

Through this movement, San Mig Light hopes to make following your passion the norm but without sacrificing your future. This can also be a place to meet like-minded people that will urge you not to give up even if the going gets rough. 

Do you feel excited yet? Stay tuned for more details on San Mig Light 7-2-1. We will be announcing the pocket events and other programs soon. –

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Marj Casal Handog

Marj Casal heads the content team of BrandRap, Rappler’s sales and marketing arm. She helps create native advertising campaigns for brands like San Miguel Brewery, Shell, GCash, Grab, BDO, and more.