Money Talk Mondays: Should I choose a major I enjoy or one that will make money

“I’m trying to choose a major. I just read this article [] and I’m feeling really depressed.

Another article that I read recently quotes Steve Jobs as saying (at a college commencement ceremony): ‘Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.’

So should I choose to major in something I enjoy or pursue the degree that will earn the most money? My parents are pushing me to get a nursing degree… Help!”


Wow – after reading the article you referenced, I can see your dilemma.

First, have you taken a career assessment survey? You can find one at .

Amarillo College has a person who can help you with taking one or, at least, interpreting your results. This survey might help guide you. You can find several online by searching “career assessment test.”

Students need to be proactive in their choices on careers and school. It would be a shame, as the article states, for a student to finish a four-year degree and not have a clue what type of job they can get.

I agree with Steve Jobs to some degree. IF you are lucky enough to do what you love, to find your passion and be able to work in that field, I would consider you truly blessed. I found mine, but not until I was in my early 40s.

On the other hand, I can hear my mom saying, “A job is just a job. You don’t have to like it; you just have to do it.” And to some degree, she also is correct.

A job does not have to define you. A job is what you do to pay the bills and survive. If you are lucky enough to at least like it, then even better. But now we are talking about attitude. If you do your job with a positive attitude, it will be easier, no matter what you are doing.

Your parents are pointing you toward the medical field because most people think it is a stable field and you can always find work, no matter where you live. In addition, it usually pays reasonably well. They just want the best for you. If you could be interested in the medical field, there are tons of jobs – not just nursing.

So, first, you need to figure out what you are interested in doing. If you decide your passion is in a field that doesn’t pay well, maybe it could be a part-time job or turn it into an on-the-side hobby while working a job that can pay the bills. Or find something that you are passionate about that does pay well.

For example, if you love working with animals, pet grooming may not pay well, but dog training might. Think outside the box.

Also, see if you can job shadow in fields and positions you think you might like. This can be an eye opener too!

One other site to check out: This site helps you look at how much money you will need to live on and makes some career suggestions.

Best of luck!

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