Turn your passion into a pay cheque

IS it better to find work in a high-paying job you don’t love or to ‘follow your dreams’ in the hope of receiving at least an average wage?
Well, according to a remarkable 17-year-old former Riverlander, it is possible to find a job that achieves both. But you have to be willing to work for it.
In today’s Murray Pioneer, young Nicholas Tragos has shared his journey on how he ‘left the nest’ at 14 to pursue a career in hairdressing and beauty (page 7).
To move more than 250 kilometres away from his parents at that age and plunge into an adult world full of pressure and responsibility would have been intimidating.
However, Nicholas said his certainty about the path he wanted to follow and determination to make his dream a reality saw him grasp the opportunity he sought for himself in Adelaide.
I personally have always put my dreams before dollars and chased creative work over higher-paying alternatives.
Like Nicholas, I was lucky to know what path I wanted to follow from a young age and wrote a lot of content for free before finally landing a position that paid me to do what I love.
We spend such a large part of our lives at work that if you’re stuck in a career that isn’t enjoyable or satisfying, it can have a detrimental effect on your overall wellbeing.
I know that sometimes taking a lower-paying job just isn’t practical, due to financial or personal commitments.
But when you’re working in a job that is aligned with your personality, strengths and interests, you have a higher chance of leading a happier and more successful life.
I find that doing what I love every day has led me to be more engaged with the role I play in the local community and provides me with a greater sense of purpose.
Nicholas’s journey is testament to an individual’s ability in bringing the vision they have for their lives to fruition.
He has encouraged people unsure of the road ahead to consider what they love doing when they aren’t getting paid and to explore that option further.
“Follow your dreams and you will make money if you love what you do,” he said.
“If it’s not paying, think outside the box, seek other experience, volunteer your time and stay positive.”
The promising stylist knew if he wanted to make his mark on the industry that he needed to upskill, network and trust in his mentors.
He worked over 50 hours a week while studying for his qualifications and has still managed to find the time to complete high school.
If your employment lacks that sense of fulfilment, perhaps giving back to society will fill the rewarding void you yearn for.
At the end of the day, a person’s happiness falls on the responsibility of the individual.
It’s all about the choices we make.

Sara Gilligan


Sara Gilligan completed a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Writing and Creative Communication at the University of South Australia in 2014. She has spent the past year working as a journalist at the Murray Pioneer's sister paper The River News in Waikerie. Sara grew up in the Adelaide Hills before moving to the Riverland to pursue her career. She enjoys reading, writing and exploring the outdoors.

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