Do What You Love

Topics: The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 2008 singles Pages: 3 (838 words) Published: June 12, 2013

Carl McCoy: Dear Grads, Don't 'Do What You Love' -

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May 27, 2013, 6:45 p.m. ET

Carl McCoy: Dear Grads, Don't 'Do What You Love'
College commencement speakers who routinely urge young people to follow their passions may not be doing them a favor. By CA RL MCCOY

This month, commencement speakers across the country are exhorting graduates not to settle. They are urged instead to find their passion—to "do what you love." But is this the best advice for college students entering a tough labor market? For those grads who do get jobs, the work will often be low-paying, with little in the way of longterm prospects. Some will soon go on to better jobs, but many will stay in these "day jobs" for years, waiting for their big break, waiting to be discovered—or simply waiting to find out what exactly it is that they truly love. "Do what you love" is an important message, but it's unwise to build a career on the notion that we should all be paid for our passions. The advice captures only part of the story. It tells us how excellent work might be accomplished—by loving it—but it doesn't tell us why the work should be done. What is the point of all the effort? What is being worked toward? The answer lies in working with a deeper sense of purpose or vocation. You don't need to be a religious or spiritual person to tap into this higher purpose; it can be derived from a sense of community and a desire to pull together. Yet without such a higher purpose where all this love and ambition can be directed, we don't have a very useful guidepost for meaningful success. We simply have a call to discover what it is that...
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