Nationally, unemployment has held steady at 4.9 percent, and employers...

Nationally, unemployment has held steady at 4.9 percent, and employers added 151,000 jobs to their payrolls in August. Credit: iStock

I was disturbed by one of the quotations in the Bottom Lines section of the Opinion page [Sept. 4]. Columnist Gina Barreca of the Hartford Courant urged us to “stop telling young people to find their passion and start telling them to find a job.”

Why would we want to do such a foolish thing?

Perhaps Barreca and I have a different definition of what it means to follow your passion. I equate it with the idea of vocation — a term I describe to my students as that place where your deepest dreams and desires meet the needs of the world. Our problems in the world aren’t rooted in the choices people make to follow their passions, but in the sad fact that too many of us don’t.

I’ve been blessed to have followed my passion right into religious education — talking with teenagers about God. While participating in this 30-year (so far) adventure, I’ve also managed to make a decent living and support my family.

If what Barreca means is that we need to be practical and not expect life to hand us a living, I agree completely — as long as our commitment to the practical doesn’t overwhelm our commitment to our passion.

James Philipps, Syosset

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