Why sometimes it’s just not the time to follow your passion – yet -


You’ve found your passion – great. But it’s important to keep facing real life. Sometimes it might be better to not start living for your passion straight away.

Say, your passion is writing (this now becomes very autobiographical, since this sure as hell is mine). Working your 9-5 job for 40 hours a week, you frequently fantasize about resigning to fully focus on pen and paper, on producing long articles and a book or two. A longing overcomes you, to start living this seemingly perfect life Now. To wake up every day, filled from head to toe with passion. Not your everyday reluctance to get up, drink an entire pot of coffee and sit behind a desk all day, typing the hours away.

A person very close to me, keeps repeating his mantra; if you’re unhappy in your job and want to follow your passion – just do it. Quit your job. Go for it. At first it sounded great. Thoughtful. But in the end, I’ve come to disagree with this advice because of various reasons.

1. As a quarterlifer, I find it a very good lesson to work for a medium- to big-sized company for some time. It gives a sense of how business works, what lives of a lot of people look like. It gives you a chance to find out if it’s for you as well. Without knowing the workings of office life, you cannot have a good opinion about it. If your passion involves working in a company, or not, this experience is always good for personal growth.

2. You have to give your passion some time to develop into the direction that feels truly right for you. As said, my passion is writing. But one day I favor short stories, the next I want to become a reporter. The week after I want to write personal essays. It might be that you just don’t know exactly. And that’s totally fine. Give yourself some time before diving into a new adventure, before following your passion full-time.

3. Keep it real. You might like the security of a roof over your head, the ability to put food on the table and to go on vacation once in a while. Quitting your job to set up your own company or follow some other passion involves a lot of risk. Think it over. Same holds true for a trip around the world. Plan a bit. Passion doesn’t rule out the need for some serious planning most of the time. It causes headaches, it causes insecurity. Sure, it might provide you with a lot of satisfaction and happiness, but try to avoid losing your sense of reality.

To be clear, I totally applaud people who follow their passion while in the mean time still keeping both feet on the ground. Who make it work, how difficult that sometimes might be. But I want to get rid of the idea that when you have (even the slightest hint of) a passion, you should start to pursue it asap. We quarterlifers, midlifers, don’t need to rush. View your passion as you would view a garden. It needs time, attention, energy and a lot of time on its own, to develop and come to full bloom. And that’s what gives it its beauty!

How about you, what’s your take on this?

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  1. Ik ben het denk ik wel met je eens. Ik heb heel veel bewondering voor mensen die nu al, op jonge leeftijd, toegewijd zijn aan hun passie. Maar ik wil het nog meer uitdiepen, richting bepalen. En volgens mij is daar ook nog wel even tijd voor.. :)

  2. Hi Anne,

    First of all, I really like you new blog. I so recognize everything that you write about!

    This is exactly what I’m struggling with too! A year and a half ago I started my company imakin without really thinking through the consequences for my daily life. I just didn’t even think about how much time (and money!) it takes to start a successful company.

    Now, a year and half later I’m thinking about quitting my job to focus more on imakin. This is what I love to do and this is what I want to work hard for to succeed.
    However, I still have my mortgage to pay and would like to go traveling every year.

    But is it one OR the other? I don’t think so! So, I’ve decided to quit part of my job to follow my passion. I think that by working one day a week less, I’ll be able to follow my passion and also have the security of a job. Take it one step at the time!


    PS I kind of envy your job at D.! ;)

    • Thanks Jinske! I’m so glad to hear that you like my new blog :-). I think it is such a good choice of you to start working less and focus more on your passion (I by the way like your products a LOT haha). Maybe this is also a good way to go, to focus more and more on your passion but not dive in all at once? (And if you’re ever in Berlin, let me know, I think you will like our D. concept store/cafe very much, and we can have a coffee there!)

  3. Wat leuk een nieuwe blog! Ik ben zelf super impulsief en ben op een moment in mijn leven dat ik geen idee heb waar ik over een paar maanden ga zijn, I love it. Ik omarm de onzekerheid volledig, al zal ik op ‘n houtje moeten bijten binnenkort.. Er komen altijd wel weer mogelijkheden aan. Zo ben ik me nu in de wereld van de kunst aan het verdiepen, wie weet wat daar weer uitkomt! :-) Goeie blog hoor! Ik kan niet zonder een passievol leven, word echt depressief van een 40urige kantoorbaan.

    • Debby! Ja ik lees dat in jouw blogs ook helemaal terug, ik denk dat het jou niet zou passen om zo stap voor stap te leven, ook omdat je volgens mij goed om kunt gaan met die onzekerheden en vooral de positieve kanten blijft zien. Dat is knap en bijzonder!

  4. Anne, these are powerful words with some practical meaning behind them.
    I was there just a couple years ago in an exhausting job that had nothing to do with my passion (or my college major). I started an etsy store to help offset the constant desire of quitting with the need to have financial stability. There are other outlets that help even if it can’t be a full time gig. For instance, blogging. ;-)
    I hope one day you’re able to fully see your passion at work!

    • Thank you Alyssa, for sharing your experience :). Good tip, finding other outlets, if blogging could be one for me I would be very happy haha ;).

  5. I completely agree with you. I have the same thoughts as I love jewellery making and want to set up my own little business and hopefully one day it will be sustainable enough to do as a sole job. However, there are so many valuable lessons to be learning from working for somebody else.


  6. Thank you so much for sharing. I get sad and angry quiet often, because of not being able to follow my dreams. Yet. What you write is so true. It’s okay to dream and fantasise (and to try to make it real!) but actually it’s all about living in this moment. And about making the best of every day.

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