Your occupation or profession is one of the most important things in life. Jobs have always had an impact in society in terms of defining status. In the professional world there might be some people who are good at their jobs and are fully satisfied with what they do. However, most job holders these days are discontent with some elements of their job. Passion is having an inherent and all-consuming interest in something. Skill is something that you either have a natural knack for or something you can learn/acquire after practice/training. I’d say these are the two most important factors when deciding where your career will take you.

Here’s an example: a young software developer suffers from a case of job discontentment. They are proficient in their work as a software developer and are being handsomely remunerated for it. Truth is though, their heart is somewhere else: stuck between software and pursuing a career in graphic design. What makes this a harder decision is if they were to leave that well-established career, many would deem this action as foolish.

Still there are people who might say to “follow your heart”. Which leads to the reason for this article. This post is for those who find themselves in the dilemma of choosing a job they are good at versus a job that they actually want to do.

Going with a Job You’re Good at (Skills)

Happy worker sitting at desk and typing on laptop
Happy worker sitting at desk and typing on laptop
Being good at a job is synonymous to having a higher skill level in it

The plus side of this? Being the master of the art makes you an important asset to your organization. On the basis of your skills, you are able to take up new challenges, work out solutions, and produce profitable results, all of which make your superiors happy.

On the other hand, every craft reaches a saturation point. No matter how well you do your job there comes a time when you simply grow out of it. That’s where it can become difficult to further your learning and widen your knowledge and skills, because when you reach this point, you’re only working on a skills template that is already set in palace for you.

Financial Gains

This could almost (or should) be reason number one, right? We want to find a good job that will pay us well. To get that good job, we want to develop and learn skills to perform that job to the best of our ability. Many people will come to find when you are good at something and find the right place to put it to use, money comes running after you like crazy. And this gets more interesting when you get paid for something you could easily do in your sleep i.e. based on your skills you do not have to work too hard to reach your goal.

But of course, it’s always greener on the other side. In almost every career there is a limit on the amount of income you can earn on each level. There are certain careers in which, no matter how high your expertise is, you may reach a salary cap or maximum income threshold. Doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom. Moreover, no matter how good you are in your field of expertise, being paid well for it depends a lot on your luck, apart from your talents. For everyone who is making a nice living doing something they are good at, there are countless other equally talented people who are not able to do so just because they didn’t get the chance to.

Career Longevity

Being adept in a specific field can certainly vouch for the longevity of your career in it. The better you are at a certain job, the longer you will stay in it, and the longer you stay in a certain career, the greater will your credibility and reputation be. Furthermore, if you are good at your job and you make your superiors realize it, your vulnerability towards a layoff consequently decreases.

When you are proficient in a job, you tend to stay in it for a long time. But career longevity can sometimes cause monotony and boredom, especially when it spreads over decades in a row. After all, the days of retiring from a company that you joined fresh out of college, are long gone.

Going with a Job you Want to Do (Passion)

Entrepreneur working on computer late at night
Entrepreneur working on computer late at night
Professional Gratification

There is nothing like professional gratification, and what better way to achieve it other than doing what you really want to do? Your interest in a job directly spells your devotion and dedication towards it. Even if you have to compromise a bit over certain other factors, the mere feeling of satisfaction makes up for most of the missing elements. However, in a scenario when you are not able to do the job of your passion, you may keep coming to the office each day, but gradually your energy keeps dropping and your frustration level keeps on rising.

Professional gratification is a key factor in the success of your career, however, when you are responsible for the upbringing of your family or any other obligations, then moving to a whole new career just because you seek self-contentment, could leave you disheartened or frustrated, as well as financially broke if things don’t work out the way you planned. Another downside can be that sometimes being too passionate about work can negatively impact your work-life balance, affecting your health, personal life, and family.

Refreshing New Start

No matter how excellent you have become at your job, when you go for the career of your dreams, the new start is like a fresh breeze in your professional life. The new start can revitalize your enthusiasm and give you fresh-out-of-college energy towards work.

Remember though, a job is no joke. Right from the beginning of your career, one focuses all his or her energy in getting settled in a field and reaching the top of their game. If you feel a new start is pushing you all the way back to square one, then the decision of pursuing a new career should be properly calculated before you take the next step. You want to make a forward move, not a lateral one.

So, is it reasonable to continue down the path in life where you have established yourself? Or should you go back and try to have a second go at your childhood dreams? This really all depends on your own priorities. There are sacrifices and hard work needed on both sides as well as dedication. Analyze your current situation and see what is most beneficial for you. I think both skill and passion are required to succeed in business as well as arts. I rank passion slightly ahead of skills when it comes to entrepreneurship. You can always hire someone for the skills, but if you don’t have passion or believe in what you are pursuing, it will be very hard to keep going on the difficult road of entrepreneurship.

Do you value passion over skill when choosing a career path? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.