Video: Don't follow your passion

To cleanse the palate, a viral hit from “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe. There’s no arguing with some of it, from the opportunities inherent in the “skills gap” to the fact that people often aren’t much good at what they’re most into. But how many workers chained to a cubicle, worn down by drudgery, ended up there because they followed prudential advice to seize an opportunity and now spend their downtime glumly ruminating that they should have followed their passion instead? There’s an inescapable grass-is-always-greener dynamic to this. If you stuck with something you were passionate about and struggled, you’ll regret that you didn’t heed Rowe’s words of wisdom and land a job with a steady paycheck. If you became a plumber and then discovered, contra Rowe’s septic-tank example, that you couldn’t muster much enthusiasm for unclogging drains, you’ll regret that you didn’t ignore him and pursue what you were passionate about. Catch-22.

His takeaway is that you should bring your passion to whatever you end up doing. Okay, but if you believe Gallup, Americans aren’t so good at that.


I suppose that ends up reinforcing Rowe’s argument, though. If the odds are high that you won’t find your work engaging, you’re better off sticking with the paycheck and hoping for the best. Maybe someday you’ll find passion in the bottom of that drain after all.