How I Turned My Passion Into My Job
There’s a famous saying I heard when I was a little girl that stuck with me throughout my life. “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” To never work? What an amazing thought. I aspired to live this way, but with the pressures from my parents to follow a career path in medicine or law, I believed that pursuing my passion was not an option. Having a South Asian background comes with a set of ideals and expectations that we, as South Asian-Americans, are expected to uphold. Being the child of immigrant parents, I only wanted to make them proud. I wanted them to be able to call our loved ones back in Bangladesh and proudly say, “My daughter is a doctor,” or “My daughter is studying law.” I wanted to fulfill their dreams. So, for a huge chunk of my teenage years, I compromised my own.
Fast forward to my senior year in college. My YouTube channel, which was my full-time hobby, was growing rapidly and huge opportunities were coming my way. I tried to treat my passion as a hobby versus a priority, but the love I had for my craft was impossible to ignore. I still tried, though. Trust me. I tried.
Upon graduation, I landed a job as a behavioral specialist for children with psychological and behavioral disorders. I remember sitting with my clients and feeling an anxiousness for my session to end so that I can rush home and film a DIY. My notes from work would have bullet points on the sides with video ideas and supply lists. Again, my passion was still so hard to ignore. After a year as a behavioral specialist, something finally snapped inside me.
Someone had asked me at a gathering about my job. I replied with a few short sentences and continued with other bits of small talk. Then they asked me about my Youtube channel… I couldn’t shut up. I even had to stop for a second and ask, “Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry. I’m not boring you, am I?”
I will never forget their response. They replied, “What? Are you kidding? You’re glowing just talking about it! You clearly love it. Why don’t you pursue that full-time?” I laughed off the idea and said, “It isn’t in the cards for me.” But that night, I couldn’t shake the question. Why DON’T I do it full-time?
As a behavioral specialist, only half of my heart was truly invested. I liked what I did, but I didn’t love it. I loved YouTube. I loved producing creative content. Throughout my life, I went through phases of wanting to be a singer, dancer, actress, fashion designer, interior designer, journalist, and more. With YouTube, I didn’t have to choose one field. I could be anything I wanted. I could turn my passion into a career. So then why not take the plunge and do it full-time? If I spent my life pursuing the dreams of my parents, who would chase mine? What was holding me back?
It was fear. The fear of disappointing my family. The fear of rejection. The fear of failure. Sure I loved Youtube! But if I were to chase after it with a hopeful, fearless heart, would it love me back? As silly as it sounds, I was afraid of being laughed at. The people that chase their “wild dreams” can oftentimes be ridiculed for not facing “reality.” It can often be considered reckless to pursue a career in the arts. Following what has proven to work seems a lot more logical than following a creative path with no guarantee of success. But here’s the thing. To live the life of your dreams, you need to follow your dreams. So that’s what I did. A few nights after that simple yet life-changing conversation, I took the plunge. I quit my job.
It’s been a year and four months since that day. In that time, I had to create a brand new channel from scratch. I faced many months of barely making my bills. I faced a lot of initial ridicule from people who just didn’t understand. But today, things couldn’t be more incredible. In a little over a year, my channel has reached over 100,000 subscribers. I was signed onto Maker-Disney and won the title as Maker-Disney All Star. I landed brand deals and projects that allowed me to not only provide for myself, but for my family.
I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t take the risk and follow my heart. I wouldn’t be able to tell you my story if I continued to let someone else write mine. And I definitely wouldn’t be able to tell you this:
Take control of your life. Follow your dreams. Believe in your dreams. Invest 100% of your heart into your passion. Don’t invest your time into something that doesn’t fulfill you. Don’t let the fear of ridicule, failure or disappointment stand in the way of your beautifully unpredictable, colorful future. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed at first. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Lasting success does not come overnight. Give it your all and trust your craft. And most importantly, love what you do..
Over a year ago, I chose a job that I loved. I haven’t “worked” since.