Heart with question Is do what you love bad career advice

Part 1: Career Passions Are Rare

This is part 1 in a 4-part series from “Do What You Love” Is Horrible Advice.


It’s easy to confuse a hobby or interest for a profound passion that will result in career and business fulfillment. The reality is, that type of preexisting passion is rarely valuable.

Don’t believe me? Think about something you’re passionate about. Or something you were passionate about when you were in high school.

Then apply this test: Will people pay you for it? Will people pay you a lot for it? “Money matters, at least in a relative sense,” says Cal Newport, Georgetown University professor and author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Search For Work You Love. “Money is a neutral indicator of value. Potential customers don’t care about your passion. Potential customers care about giving up money.” (That same logic, of course, also applies to potential employers.)

A passion people won’t pay you for is hardly the basis for a career—it’s a hobby. You can still love your hobbies. Just love them in your spare time.

The key as an entrepreneur—or as an employee—is to identify a relevant passion.


Written by Jeff Hayden, a LinkedIn Influencer, ghostwriter, and speaker, and an Inc. Magazine contributing editor. This post is reprinted from LinkedIn, June 23, 2014, featured in “Do What You Love” Is Horrible Advice.

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