Is 'Pursuing Your Passion' Applicable in the PHL?
We Filipinos are suckers for rags-to-riches stories; just look at the plotline of most teleseryes on primetime television. For years, our country has been downtrodden with economic challenges that it seems a Herculean feat to rise above these financial setbacks. Here, a self-made man is highly regarded and glamorized in every possible way. From athletes to showbiz personalities to business owners, anyone who has overcome the economic hurdles automatically becomes a poster-child of Filipino resilience and ingenuity.
But, does this quest for financial stability mean giving up on the things you are passionate about? Here in the Philippines, what your heart wants to do may not always put food on the table. Pursuing your passion almost always means taking the road less travelled and gambling on your chances of making it big financially.
By chance, if your passion is in the highly-technical industries like engineering and medical science, then you are in luck. If not, you better be exceptionally good to make it to the top. Things, however, are set to change.
Passion versus Practicality
It's far too common now to hear people give advice to young people, telling them to "follow their hearts" and "pursue their passion." But in a society that's becoming more realistic than ever, these lines seem like static noises that you should shut out if you want to succeed financially. As a matter of fact, many college students-those lucky enough to pursue tertiary education-will most likely choose "practical" majors that would surely land them high-paying jobs after graduating.
It does not matter if aptitude does not match the skills required for a chosen industry; if they will it, success should follow.
This isn't the case, however; a quick glance at the national statistics will tell you that there is a huge education-to-labor mismatch now. Not all fresh graduates land a stable job within six months. Some even struggle to find employment after two years. Common reasons include lack of opportunities, unsatisfactory monetary compensation, and, not surprisingly, lack of skills. Other factors also point to oversaturation of new graduates in a specific industry, healthcare services, for instance. This simply means that practicality does always win in the end.
The Inconvenience of Being Pragmatic
The problem with being rational is that people tend to choose careers that are in-demand now, but may not be so in the near future. Just like what is happening today, new graduates do not always get to practice what they have studied simply because the demand for their skills has already dwindled. It also pays to take future job market trends into account. Rather than padding your resume with things that may become irrelevant in few years' time, it is better to invest time learning skills that you can nurture and make full use of. This means that you can still pursue your passion, and then develop your talents afterwards for the global job market.
Luckily today, almost any venture, be it creative or not, can be turned into an enterprise. Just look at all the startups that have mushroomed in the country in recent years. They cater to various demands and fill the roles left vacant. Plus, with the rise of online and mobile platforms, different industries like IT and marketing now have a need for positions that did not exist years ago. All of these things simply point out the fact that with good career path planning and anticipation of possible job demands, you can still pursue what you love and succeed financially.
Ultimately, everything comes down to our search for meaning and purpose. All the money in this world won't be enough if what you do cannot answer your search for relevance. After all, earning a large salary only comes as an extra when you know how to make good use of your talent and seeing your worth as a person. Achieving such speaks better of our Filipino resilience and ingenuity.