The Best Financial Move I Made in My 20s Was Not To Follow My Passion

Desiree Peralta
Photo by Jaycee300sPhoto byJaycee300s / Pexels

When I was a teenager, my parents enrolled me in a technical school so I could complete high school along with a technical degree.

As I was young and uninterested in most of the careers that the school offered, my brother suggested Software because “you can earn a lot of money creating applications.”

A year into that school, I realized that Software wasn’t really my passion.

My classmates programmed as a hobby; they were always talking about programming languages, and even though they were in recess, they were always with a computer inventing new applications.

I was the complete opposite.

I tried to avoid thinking about programming at all costs and only did it when I had to do homework for a class. In my breaks, I liked to read and talk with my friends, and outside of school, I did anything except programming.

On the internet, we see how “you have to follow your passion to never feel that you have to work in your life” and how “passion will make you successful.” But even though I was good at creating Software, I never felt that way about that career.

So, when I finished high school, I started looking for colleges that offered degrees in literature, design, or finance.

But then my father got cancer, and there were other priorities in my house. One of them was that I should start working if I wanted a university degree and support my family.

The only thing I knew at that moment was Software, and even though I didn’t have any college degree, I started earning pretty well soon.

I decided to stay in Software because of my success, and it was the best financial decision I made.

Since I was already working in Software, I decided to seek a degree in that same career to earn more money. Then, after I had saved enough, I had plans to dedicate myself to something else.

And over the next five years, my financial life began to get better and better.

I bought a house for myself, bought my dream car, paid for part of my dad’s treatment, and helped in my house with everything my mom needed.

It was one of the highest-paid careers in my country, so I escalated quickly because I was good enough, and I kept looking for new offers that let me earn more.

Then, I got international opportunities that let me work remotely and for projects instead of hours, which helped me also dedicate myself to whatever I wanted while having a stable, freelance, high income.

This is how I was able to dedicate myself to my passions in my free time.

I realized that I didn’t need to work on my passions full-time to be successful and happy; I just had to do my work as quickly and efficiently as possible so I could do whatever I wanted later.

I also realized that my passions, although I liked them and were entertaining, were very difficult to compete in the job market. So I didn’t earn much from them (even in the finance area, I lost more money than I made).

However, even though I didn’t like the Software, it allowed me to have my own house, car, and stability, save enough to invest wisely in whatever I wanted, and use my side hustles to buy my mother a house and plan my retirement.

If I continue as I’m going, I won’t have to work anymore after my early 30s.

All this was possible because I didn’t romanticize my job and I simply dedicated myself to what I had to do with it: work as necessary, learn, and climb.

Then I understood something: romanticizing your work is the worst thing you can do to your career.

Let me explain to you why in the next point.

Romanticizing your work is a trap created by the big companies to make you do more than what you have to.

When you love your job, you can do it anywhere and anytime. When you are not passionate about what you do, you try to do it only when you have to.

As I didn’t like Software, I always tried to look for the fastest way to finish something. I also never worked extra hours because “I got inspired” and never volunteered for additional work.

Furthermore, I was never loyal to any company out of love for the product I was creating.

This allows me to climb to better positions and have free time for myself and my personal life.

People around me who love what they do work in their beds, bathroom, and free time. They take work to their homes. They stay at the office until bedtime because they have to accomplish something.

They lose their life because they believe in the false fact that your passion is what drives you to do impactful things.

But this statement feels that the big companies created it to keep you in their office working more.

Think about it.

“You love what you do, so keep working for us even in your free time.”

Many of my friends who work in what they love remain loyal to a single company because they love what they do daily, and consequently, they do not grow professionally.

They settle for little because they have been told that they are happy because they do what they love. And they may never retire because if you love what you do, why let it go?

Work is to make money; everything else is to have fun.

If work were created for fun, people wouldn’t pay you to do it. You would just wake up one day and say, I want to be happy today; let me be a bank cashier to have some fun.

But it’s not like that.

And people need to start realizing that to go to the path that could help them be better.

The problem is that humans are conditioned to believe that we should be happy in everything we do and that happiness is in doing the things we love.

So, we are constantly romanticizing everything we do to find our purpose in life.

I realized that I can be happy and sometimes do things that I don’t like for my own well-being. Also, if I want to have fun, the worst thing to search for is my work because then I would do it even when I have to rest.

Work is to make money and accomplish goals. Everything else is for fun.

Working on a passion is a trap because you will work even when you don’t have to, and you could lose yourself in the process.

You can be happy and still do things that you don’t like. And it’s better not to have fun at work because you would find yourself working extra hours when you don’t have to.

Final thoughts

You don’t need to love your job to be successful at it. You just have to be good enough at what you do to have good opportunities.

I don’t love what I do, but I am good at doing it, so I always find the fastest way to finish it so I can dedicate myself to better things that are more important in my life.

For passions, I have my side hustles and my hobbies, and I don’t have to think about money to do it. But for money, I have a high-paying career, which helps me achieve everything I want.

Not having my career as a passion helped me climb without feeling guilty that I was“in a good company doing what I loved.”And I never had to work extra hours and lose my life because it is“fun to work.”

Not working at what I love was the best financial decision I made in my 20s because it will allow me to retire early and dedicate the rest of my life to what I genuinely love without thinking about money.

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Turning ideas into reality. Programmer by profession, Writer by passion. Writing, productivity, and self-development advice.

Yonkers, NY

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