Don’t Do What You Love, The Money May Not Follow

It is a common cliche that people use, “Do what you love the money will follow”, that may not be so true in our struggling economy. The author of The Chronicle article, “What You Can’t Tell Your Student’s Anymore”, Pamela Newkirk is worried that she may have overused this phrase. Newkirk expressed concern that her student’s will not be afforded the same opportunities she was because her students are dealing with different financial issues, for example debt from student loans.  This is a valid concern from Newkirk because as a professor and parent she has a certain responsibility to present reality to her students and daughters. To continue to tell students to chase their dreams with the hope that “money will follow” is problematic without giving full details of sacrifices that will have to be made.

Newkirk has faith in this generation but after rethinking her advice she has realized that she must set out the sacrifices that one may need to make in order to “do what they love”. Newkirk feels that her advice may have lead some of her past students to stay “un- or underemployed” by internships in hopes to get a job. She now revises that notion explaining, “there is honorable work to be found while pursuing your dreams”, a needed reality for students who may avoid low ,or any paying, job beside that of their interest. Newkirk’s revelation about her teaching advice made me start thinking about my own teaching career and the advice I may give. In a world where reality hits 6 months after graduation, when Sallie Mae calls to start collecting on school loans, it seems like an injustice to try and sugar coat the truth to students but there is also a desire to keep the hope of their dreams alive.

Going into education it was my hope to inspire someone to do and be something great. This notion of giving students the truth of the “real” world my hinder the persistent students. Their are some students out there who, maybe one day, would have turned their dream internship into their career and this new advice, Newkirk has decided upon, may stop that. I always knew that being a teacher was a balancing act but I guess I never realized how complex of an act. Newkirk’s article really opened my eyes to how careful I must be even with the smallest cliches I say to my students.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Don’t Do What You Love, The Money May Not Follow

  1. This is a great article because it hits home for most of us with college loans but it also incorporates the students we will hopefully be teaching ourselves someday. The issue I see with this article is that it puts more of an emphasis on money. It sends the message that your self worth depends on the amount of money your paycheck states. I am already in school to become a teacher, I know at the end of the road there is not a lump some of money waiting for me, but the daily rewards you receive are why you enter a field of passion.

    The other point I noted from this article was the new phrase she says to her students, “there is honorable work to be found while pursuing your dreams”, a needed reality for students who may avoid low ,or any paying, job beside that of their interest.” I find this extremely important because although new graduates have high hopes and expectations for themselves after graduation it is a harsh reality that not everyone lands their dream career. In order to survive you need money and in hopes that you will find the job of your dreams someday, employers need to see that you have been working. What employer is going to higher someone who has not worked for 3 years?

  2. Lindsay Durkin

    I also found this article very interesting, and your post just as interesting. It is a harsh reality that “do what you love and the money will follow” isn’t quite as promising as we once thought it was. I myself have been struggling with this for the past 5 years of my life. When I started college I had NO idea of what I wanted to do with my life, but my parents thought I should enroll as a business major and so I did. I had no interest in business – as a matter of fact I HATE math, but my mom knew how important financial stability would be for me after I graduated that she went with the “go to” money maker occupations (Doctor, Lawyer, Business, etc). Half way through college I took a year off because I hated what I was learning – I wasn’t passionate about it at all and had no interest in continuing to waste my time on an occupation I would never want to spend the rest of my life doing. Now I’m an English major – like the rest of you, hoping to teach English… and once again financial issues present themselves as a major road block. We all know as teachers we won’t be making the best money, and even as a student working every day I am not in class – I still struggle to pay my bills. Once school ends, and paying off my financial loans begins, I don’t even know what I am going to do. This may be a rant, but it seems that financial issues most of the time stand in the way between what people actually want to do, and what they can afford to do. In order to get a degree thousands of students send themselves into serious debt. They hope the degree will get them the job they have always wanted…but that just isn’t the case. I’m not really sure what we tell our students in this case. We can’t lie to them, because I feel like all of my life I have been told that if you work hard and earn your degree that you will be able to earn a decent living…and that’s not the reality for so many people.

  3. My perspective on following your dream career is similar, I always say it’s better to do what you love and know that you won’t get sick of the career in a short few years. As oppose to doing something that is extremely lucrative but makes you dread going to work. I think that teachers should still encourage students to go for their dream careers or careers they went to college for.
    However I also believe that they should tell them instant gratification in this economy unlikely for less needed jobs. Yet if they work towards their career of being talk show host by starting as a reporter or journalist they are still doing something meaningful and worth while as well as connected to the career they want pursue. The truth should be respected and should also be looked at as preparation for the real world, because no one will beat around the bush if they feel you are not qualified for the position.

  4. mofulco

    I found this article very important. Being a college student, especially one on a path to education, is a scary path, considering the money may really never follow. However, I think the important thing to do is to encourage students to explore all the options, and to provide them with every piece of reality. However, I also find it important to remind them that following your dreams is often the happiest path, though maybe not the most financially rewarding. And in the end, whatever the student’s decision is, I think it is important that a teacher do his or her best to prepare their students for the real world.

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