Don't get me wrong. I am all about figuring out what makes you happy, vigorously taking control of your career, and making changes so that you don't get run into the ground doing work you don't like, love or -gasp!- aren't passionate about. This might sound hypocritical given my general stance on doing what you love, but I want to acknowledge that there is a time and a place for pursuing your passion full-time, and it's different for everyone. I admire full-time bloggers, writers, artists, coaches and self-employed entrepreneurs. I also love the message from the guys at Pursue the Passion who interview people "living the dream." And I still choose to go to work every day at my full-time job, working for "the man" even though my dream is to have my own company one day. No, work is not my most passionate passion. But that is OK. Don't feel bad if you are working to pay the bills. Work is called work for a reason - it's fun if you're lucky, but if you're learning more and more every day, that's where you really get a return on your investment.
During my two week vacation over the holidays, I spent almost every waking hour of the day working on my book, writing blog posts and doing a coaching session here and there (all passions of mine). But I also missed the chaos and camaraderie of working at Google.
I confirmed my hunch that I wouldn't be happy without my full-time job in my life right now, and I'm still learning so much every day that it feels incredibly worth it to spend so much time at work. Plus, it gives me more to blog, write (and eventually) coach and consult about. It will probably make me a better business school candidate. Without entry-level experience at the start-up and without a full-time job learning how to be a manager right now, I definitely wouldn't be where I am today in terms of business skills, knowledge, self-management and people-skills. The pace of learning far outweighs the trade-off of not pursuing my passion full-time right now.
So here's the bottom-line: there's a lot of talk in the blogosphere about pursuing your passion and quitting your job to follow your dream. And I think that is fan-freaking-tastic whenever you are READY for it. Don't feel bad if you're not ready today. Don't let fear hold you back, but learn to separate fear from actually getting value out of where you are now.
And that doesn't mean throwing your passion out the window - commit to carving out time every day and every week to cultivate activities and start building a vocation you really love. If it's volunteering, do it! If it's writing, do that! If you can figure out how to do these things within your job description? Even better! It's not a zero-sum game - you don't have to pursue your passions full-time in order to have them in your life.