We can see or hear do what you love advice everywhere.
But is it really a good advice?
If I have listened to this advice, I would probably be broke and have a very hard time.
As a teenager I played Counter-Strike a lot. I easily played 40 hours per week if not more. One time when I was ill and I didn’t have to go to school, I made a personal record of playing Counter-Strike 140 hours per 2 weeks. I played it like a mad man for four years. Throughout this time I probably played it for 4000 hours or more.
I had friends who played with me. I also played football and went to high school as a normal kid, but every time I was at home I played.
I was really good at it (not the best though) and I absolutely loved it. But what are the chances that I would become a professional Counter-Strike player? There are so many people who play this game and so few who make a living out of it. If I did what I love and trained even more then maybe I could do it. If I didn’t go to the university and therefore played it more, it would increase my chances. But would that be a good, thoughtful and responsible decision? Luckily, I did not listen to this advice.
My friends, family and common sense all helped me to see what is really important. I loved the idea of being a professional player, but I feared failure even more. I knew that I did not want to end up with a job I didn’t like and get up upset every morning.
Although Counter-Strike was my favorite activity, I had some other interests. I enjoyed reading books about psychology, having philosophical discussions with my friends and playing football. Furthermore, I was also good at math and a fast learner. I knew I had to go to the university to increase my chances to be successful, to be more educated and to find a better job.
I was thinking of studying psychology. It could have been a good decision I don’t doubt it, but a better alternative was waiting for me. Some of my friends were into IT and programming. I didn’t have a passion for it, but I thought maybe I could be able to develop it. I liked numbers and was somehow interested in technology. Also my brother pointed me in the right direction when he showed me my possible future If I would have chosen to pursue psychology. He showed me available job positions for people with degree from psychology. Those positions did not sound very lucrative to me and they also had low salary. It opened my eyes a little more.
At that point I was sure about three things:
For these reasons I decided to study informatics. With three friends I went to Slovak Technical University to study Applied Informatics. One of them was Gabriel.
I first tried programming in the last year at my high school. I didn’t love it, but I certainly didn’t hate it. Although I wasn’t exceptionally good at it, I didn’t struggle. I managed to understand basic concepts pretty fast and sometimes even had fun. My interest in programming rose every day. By the time I was at university I was pretty sure, that programming will play a major role in my life.
I have developed passion for programming and IT in general throughout the 5 years at university. During my master studies I started my career as a Software Engineer and I stuck to it. I am tremendously grateful to everyone who helped me choose this path. I am also very grateful that I stopped doing what I love. You can read how I got my first job as a Junior developer here.
My experience taught me that common advice which can be heard from everywhere doesn’t have to be true and right for everyone. This includes ‘do what you love’ and ‘find your passion’. I don’t believe in these words and I would certainly not recommend this advice to teenagers. I think that everyone should rather develop their passion and learn to love it. If a 16-year-old teenager loves programming, taking photos, singing or drawing, it’s awesome, because these activities and passions can lead him or her to a great career. The problem is when a 16-year-old loves playing computer games and smoking cigarettes. Then it might be very dangerous to listen to this kind of advice.