Is Passion a Bad Choice? A Job A Career or a Calling

Is Passion a Bad Choice? A Job A Career or a Calling

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This week during the blitz of U.S. election news, there was an article gaining some traction called “Seven Life Lessons Everyone Should Learn Sooner Rather Than Later” by Nicholas Cole who Carrie wants to call Nicholas Cage because she is old like that.

Carrie has a tendency to hate these kind of articles because she thinks they are trite and insipid.

But his first point hit home. It was, “If you want to ‘do what you love,’ you have to work three times as hard as everyone else.”

“Most people do not get to spend their lives doing whatever it is they love. Instead, they do what they are told they should do or what their parents or town or friends or peers suggest that they do. Or they simply pursue nothing close to their heart at all.”


Is this you?

Do you love something?

Do you do it?

He said, “But if you want to do what you love, you need to see that as a privilege, not an expectation.”

Which is interesting. What does that mean, right?

Carrie does what she loves. But to be fair, Carrie loves everything she does whether it’s being a YMCA gymnastics coach, a church secretary, a student, a newspaper editor.

“I love all the things,” Carrie says.

Cole never says anything about his assertion that you have to work three times harder to do what you love. And we’re not sure where that comes from because he doesn’t source anything. It might just be a generalization, but we wanted to make sure.


Despite an exhaustive internet search of five minutes, we couldn’t find anything that backed Cole’s assertion, but we did find an article by Jeff Haden, which said the worst career advice is to do what you love.

He quotes Cal Newport, Georgetown University professor and author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Search For Work You Love.

“Telling someone to follow their passion–from an entrepreneur’s point of view–is disastrous. That advice has probably resulted in more failed businesses than all the recessions combined… because that’s not how the vast majority of people end up owning successful businesses.

“Passion is not something you follow,” he adds. “Passion is something that will follow you as you put in the hard work to become valuable to the world.”

Cal Newport

According to Haden, passions are a bad choice because:

  1. They take time to cultivate.
  2. It’s rare to actually have a career passion.
  3. Passion is a side effect of mastery at something.
  4. Working hard and improving your skills is more important than finding the perfect job.

“Roughly speaking, work can be broken down into a job, a career, or a calling. A job pays the bills; a career is a path towards increasingly better work; a calling is work that is an important part of your life and a vital part of your identity. (Clearly most people want their work to be a calling.)

“According to research, what is the strongest predictor of a person seeing her work as a calling?

“The number of years spent on the job. The more experience you have the more likely you are to love your work.

“Why? The more experience you have the better your skills and the greater your satisfaction in having those skills. The more experience you have the more you can see how your work has benefited others. And you’ve had more time to develop strong professional and even personal relationships with some of your employees, vendors, and customers.”


So, yeah? So, no? What do you think? You can hear what we think in the audio of our podcast and hear the random thoughts from our daily lives, too.


To be the best writer you can be, write. But more than that, figure out why you want to write? Is it a job? You’re doing it for some cash, hopefully. Is it a career? Or is it a calling?


Don’t let random people subvert your passion. Just because they wrote it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. That goes for us, too.



The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.







Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

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Stake the Stakeholders and Be Your Own Voice

Stake the Stakeholders and Be Your Own Voice

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00:00 / 00:22:32
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Yesterday on her blog, Carrie talked about how feeling successful in your career or life is really tied to having your personal values resonate in your occupation, and being guided by those same core values instead of society’s outside metrics about what makes someone a success. 

The blog is here

But on the podcast, we’re going to touch on something we’ve talked about before – stakeholders. 

Stakeholders are all around you. They’re in your past and your present. They have expectations. They project their own crud onto you. They are the people who come to mind when you say, “What will X think if I do this?” They are real people. But they are also voices in your head. 

For Carrie, an example would be when she drew as a little kid and her mom said, “Nobody in our family has an artistic bone in her body.”

That comment from someone she loved stayed inside of her, right? And it made her think she could never do art, but it also could make her go out and say, “To heck with that. I’m going to prove my mom wrong.” 

Or maybe your mom’s dream was to save the world, but she never had the chance to. She projects that dream on you and now your dream is to save the world.

Coming to terms with what YOU want versus what your STAKEHOLDERS want is a really valuable experience in helping you feel successful and fulfilled. 

How to Come To Terms With Your Stakeholders: 

  • Make a list.
  • List all the people who have ever told you what you could do in your career. 
  • List all the people who have ever told you what you couldn’t do. 
  • List all the people who give you advice. 

Now, look at your list. Is that person important to you? Then that person is a stakeholder. 

But stakeholders aren’t just people. Stakeholders can be colleges, institutions, social media. 

Think about when you post something on Twitter, SnapChat, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram. People like (or don’t), share (or don’t), comment (or don’t) and that gives you value and and ideas and judgements of others all meshed in one place. It becomes a stakeholder. 

Our life and our choices are part of intertwined systems and so, too, is our feeling of success. A big first step towards self-fulfillment is realizing when it’s you being happy and satisfied versus other people being happy and satisfied for you. 

Dog Tip for Life 

If your stakeholder’s influence created a fear or limitation, it’s time to let that go. 

And if our idea of success and our career is about playing it safe? About being like the rest of the pack? You might want to rethink that, too. 

There is safety in being like everyone else, in thinking like everyone else, in sticking to the pack and following the same route, but is that really helpful? Is that success for you? 

Writing Tip of the Pod

If you aren’t taking risks with your writer, or taking the risk to be a writer, then maybe it’s time. Ignore the stakeholders that are limiting you. Be who you want to be. Take chances. 

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” 

Maya Angelou



I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 


You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy


The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.


Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.


31702754 copy

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published


I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.


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Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

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