The importance of passion to our careers

Dr. Schreiber of San Augustine giving a typhoi...

A doctor and his patient (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a letter that a doctor wrote to lawmakers in Washington DC:

Dear lawmakers: This is what it’s like to be a doctor today (

In the letter, he discusses the $230,000 debt he went into to become a doctor. He also discusses how doctors work over thirty hours straight and have to constantly be available to patients, even at home.

But what struck me most about the letter wasn’t the staggering debt or the massive time commitment it takes to be a doctor; what struck me was his unwavering dedication to his profession:

I want to make it clear that this letter is not just another story about the difficulties of becoming a doctor and being successful in medicine. I do not want you to think I am complaining about how hard my life is and used to be. In fact, I love my job and there is no other field I would ever imagine myself doing.

There’s a perception of doctors as being wealthy and prestigious, and I’m sure some students choose to go into medicine because of that reputation rather than because it’s what they want to be doing.

But the writer of this letter was passionate about his job and was willing to make enormous sacrifices — in time as well as money — to achieve his dream, and that, for me, was truly inspirational.

While wealth and prestige might factor into our career decisions, it’s passion that makes us feel pride in our work when we’re underpaid and unknown. And it’s passion that gets us through those tough times because, even with all the hardships, there’s nothing else we’d rather be doing.

About David

I'm an aspiring writer and filmmaker in my twenties. I also run a blog where twenty-somethings share their stories and advice on beginning a career in this economy. Check it out at

Posted on April 30, 2013, in News & views and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I’ve seen many students begin college as pre-med (many, many, many). As you say, David, they do so largely due to status and hopes of financial gain. After the rigors of the pre-med path, though, the ones left standing by graduation are largely those who are truly passionate about the endeavor of medicine. That’s heartening to me.

  2. I do think it’s hard to know, early in your twenties, what exactly you like doing. If a young person has only ever been in school, it’s a huge choice to make. Anyone who can identify their passion early and without all of the doubt the rest of us feel is very lucky, in spite of all the debt.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I like how honest he is in his letter. Passion really gets you the furthest in your job. It gives you the motivation to do more than necessary and put yourself ahead of the crowd. I like to ask people how they got to their position. Most of them said that their passion and hard work opened up doors for them that they never thought possible. They didn’t necessarily plan out their career path, their passion did.

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