Following your bliss vs. earning a living

Q: I am a young adult with a passion, but I can’t make a living out of it. (I tried to find a job related to it for five years.) But what am I if I can’t do what I love? I can’t see myself retiring after 50 years and picking up doing what I haven’t done for all that time. What can I do? I feel like a ball adrift in the ocean.

A: You’re beating yourself up with false choices. It seems you’re still pursuing your passion without a paycheck. Why can’t that continue? Who says you have to put your passion on hold, especially if you find a job that pays the bills but is flexible enough to keep your true interest going on the side?

You don’t have to sign on the dotted line for one single career for the next several decades. Visit a career counselor – not a coach who will copy-edit your resume and tell you what color tie to wear, but a pro trained in psychological assessments like the Strong Interest Inventory. They can hunt for hidden overlaps between your passion (and other interests) and what will buy your groceries.

Q: My girlfriend and I have been close friends with another couple for years but have become tired of their negativity and lying. They’ve gotten us through some hard times, but we don’t see their behavior as something we can change. We find ourselves complaining about them daily. Is it OK to drift away from this friendship?

A: Have you ever called them out on individual actions and expressed your displeasure? If so and it’s gone nowhere, then by all means, drift, drift away. Dishonesty and negativity that aren’t the result of a current crisis but a long-standing personality pattern are certainly adequate justifications to end a friendship.

Just beware how you do it. You can try the slow fade at first, but they might lash out, in which case you can minimize the drama by being civil and straightforward. “I’m sorry we haven’t been able to hang out as much anymore. Our lives are sort of being pulled in different directions now.” Awkward, yes. But it leaves far less room for “Why the heck are you being so distant from us? What is your problem?” later.