Is “Follow Your Passion” Terrible Advice?

Mike Rowe, the long-time host of Dirty Jobs has a lot to say about work. Most recently he raised some ire by stating that “follow your passion” is terrible advice that encourages people to make bad decisions about their future and their career. Your passion may not be what you’re good at, and it may not be what you can actually do to make money and earn a living.

From his Facebook Page he says:

When it comes to earning a living and being a productive member of society – I don’t think people should limit their options to those vocations they feel passionate towards. I met a lot of people on Dirty Jobs who really loved their work. But very few of them dreamed of having the career they ultimately chose.

Telling a young person not to follow their dreams may sound harsh, but there are many recent college graduates burdened with debt who probably wish they had followed his advice to choose something a bit more practical for their degree or occupation. Perhaps they would have an easier time paying off their $30,000 loan (or more) if they had chosen to study math or engineering, instead of performing arts. Depending on their field of study, they may have even had a better outcome by choosing a two-year college.

Yes, on average college graduates do make more than high school grads, and yes there are many more benefits to getting a college degree than simply being able to make a lot of money. But college is becoming increasingly expensive, and being burdened with debt significantly reduced the well-being of graduates, as well as limits their freedom to choose a job or a place to live that they would truly enjoy.

College is a big decision, and students should not be pushed into it before they are ready. They should make their decision about where to go to college wisely, considering their needs financially, socially and academically.

Rowe ended his post with this advice: “Don’t Follow Your Passion, But Always Bring it With You.”

What do you think? Do you agree with Mike that you should not encourage others to pursue their dreams no matter the cost?