Passion Over Pay: Careers For The Modern Generation

Encouraging the modern generation to work for passion over pay at a time when opportunities abound but competition is plentiful.

So many people walk this earth,

With purpose in their eyes,

But in their heart of hearts they know,

What they’re living is a lie,

The alarm goes off at 6am,

Like every other day,

So they can walk into a job they hate,

Because they need the pay,

All time does is take from them,

But it never seems to give,

Always waiting for the day to come,

When they finally start to live,

I’m all too scared that one day soon,

I’ll become just like the rest,

Only walking with the crowd,

Because my dreams have been oppressed,

That one day I’ll look back on life,

At the opportunities that I missed,

And realise I never truly lived,

All I did was just exist.

-Erin Hanson


Erin Hanson’s poem is a powerful reminder of the need to ensure we are living each day to its fullest, making the most of opportunities that present themselves and eliminating regrets. Its particular focus on working out of necessity rather than for a passion is pertinent to many young people who are forging their future careers.

Modern generations are privileged to have a wealth of innovative and exciting careers which were not available to our parents’ generation, allowing us to explore our interests and develop them into jobs we could not have dreamed of when we were children. Such careers are uniquely suited to the technology-driven skill sets we have developed through our youth.

The creativity young people are searching for in employment is reflected by the blossoming of unusual roles in the past five to ten years, such as influencers (bloggers and vloggers), app designers, fitness trainers, skincare specialists, Uber drivers, Airbnb hosts, drone operators and search engine optimisation (SEO) strategists.

Twenty years ago, the role of a social media manager would not have even been a thought, as Facebook was founded in 2004, Twitter in 2006 and Instagram in 2010, yet thousands of people work in this position today, a trend set to continuously rise as the number of social media users grows by 11 new people every second.

The explosion of social media within the last five years particularly has led to enormous growth in people creating personal brands, alongside permitting business growth through greater access to advertising and direct interaction with users. Additionally, it has enabled easier recruitment, with 91% of employers taking advantage of this method to post job opportunities.

Furthermore, many young people now venture into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) positions, especially considering how they may change practices for the benefit of society and the environment. This aligns with the mindset of young adults wishing to have meaningful jobs that aim to make a difference, large or small.

Young-adulthood is the time when we may explore different jobs, before we become too ‘specialised’ to change career path. It is the prime time to cultivate interests into something worthwhile investing our future in. Things may not work out as intended, the ‘perfect’ jobs may not be as wonderful as we hoped, but the important thing is to try.

Those leaving university face significant competition for graduate jobs, generating great despondency when you are deemed ‘inexperienced’ (lacking work experience) or ‘overqualified’ (for non-graduate jobs). However, it is essential not to despair as transferable skills are key to applying yourself to various career sectors and networking may provide unexpected employment prospects.

Of course, there will always be bills to pay, and though a job may be considered a daily drudge, it is not a future you are bound to. We should not be constrained to a particular job out of necessity, but rather use it as a springboard to gain funds in order to explore other interests and foster the skills required to move into a preferred career.

Paul Angone proffers some wonderful guidance to young people, including this career advice taken from his book 101 Secrets For Your Twenties:

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There is only one opportunity at life, so why not strive for the unconventional, the inspiring, the passion-driven careers. You are the architect of your future, and the one with most power to make your dreams a reality.

Written by Hannah Bird.

CareersCity Girl