Apple cofounder Steve Jobs once said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it, keep looking. Don’t settle.”* It’s an idealized viewpoint that is not always practical, especially if you’re working primarily to support yourself or your family. But if you’re an adult learner considering enrolling in an undergraduate degree program, use your online education as an opportunity to focus on an area you’ll find both personally and professionally rewarding.
A 2014 Gallup poll revealed that only 31.5% of American workers were “actively engaged” in their jobs, meaning they are “involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace.” Unfortunately, the majority—nearly 70%—described themselves as “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” from their work. The problem isn’t unique to entry- or mid-level roles; even those employed in manager, executive, or company officer positions expressed similar levels of detachment, with an engagement rate of just 38.4%.†
While some people are content with a career that simply gives them financial stability—a benefit not to be dismissed or treated lightly—there are many unhappy employees who still dream of a different kind of life. It’s natural for this sort of discontent to not only result in lower workplace motivation (and fewer professional opportunities as a result), but also to have a negative impact on an employee’s personal life and family.
5 Reasons to Use Your Online Education as a Means to Doing What You Love
Personal happiness. It may seem obvious, but if you love what you do for a living, you’re likely to be happier in other parts of your life. Professional satisfaction will inevitably spread to other areas, enhancing your quality of life, creating better relationships, and energizing you for other endeavors and goals.
Higher income. People who are happy in their careers tend to earn higher incomes.‡ Naturally, enjoying your work doesn’t guarantee a higher salary. But when you’re passionate about what you do, you’re likely to work harder, dedicate yourself more fully, and position yourself more strongly for raises and promotions.
Greater chance of success. Happier people tend to achieve more success—however they define it— later in life than those who are unhappy. For instance, those who choose to pursue traditional or online degree programs in the field they love are more likely to succeed after graduation than students who aren’t following their dreams.‡ And when you’re in an undergraduate degree program that aligns with your interests, you’ll be more motivated to pursue connections with professionals in your field—connections that can be highly valuable in your own career advancement.
Sense of fulfillment. “A job isn’t just a job anymore,” says Philip Ryan of E-Edge, an education and management advisory company. “It's becoming increasingly important to love your job or industry. As the lines between working life and personal life blur, a job is as much about personal fulfillment and growth as it is about a paycheck. People don't want to make widgets, they want to change lives, including their own."§
Inspiration for others. When people see you pursue your dreams and succeed, it can inspire them to do the same. Whether as a parent, family member, friend, colleague, or community member, you can be a positive role model for others to admire and emulate.
Online Degree Programs Can Help You Follow Your Dreams
The convenience of online degree programs has encouraged millions of working adults to go back to school for an online bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. Many are motivated to pursue their passion in a different profession, while others want to increase their knowledge and advance their career in a field they already enjoy. With a wide variety of online bachelor’s degree programs available to further your education, all you need to get started is the courage to pursue your dreams.
Explore Walden University's online degree programs for graduates and undergraduates. Get the help you need to continue your education and advance your career goals. Earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.
*J. Hayden, 7 Inspiring Steve Jobs Quotes That Just Might Change Your Life, Inc.com
†A. Atkins, Majority of U.S. Employees Not Engaged Despite Gains in 2014, Gallup.
‡J. De Neve and A. Oswald, Estimating the influence of life satisfaction and positive affect on later income using sibling fixed effects, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2012.
§N. Taylor, 12 Reasons to Do What You Love for a Living, Business News Daily.