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“I don’t want money to stand in the way of your dreams!” my friend related to her husband, Andrew, in an impassioned monologue about his pursuit of a college lecturer opportunity.

“Isn’t money what stands in the way of everyone’s dreams?” he delivered in his characteristically dry manner.

Andrew had been lucky; he had found his niche as a child. He never changed his major in college. He never doubted the pursuit of his chosen profession, though when he began working as a graphic designer, the reality of design was different from what he had imagined. His imagination had not accounted for clients who couldn’t articulate what they wanted and would only know when they saw it. His imagination had not accounted for perpetually altering his designs to meet the clients’ demands.

Having established an excellent reputation at one university, as a graduate himself, and through his professional work, he had been invited to teach as an adjunct professor and had successfully done so for over five years.

He enjoyed teaching. It gave him an opportunity to revisit what he loved about design – the history, the theory. And working with students made design fresh again.

When a supporter of Andrew’s at the University offered him a full-time, three-year appointment, it was the opportunity he had been waiting for. The three-year appointment had the potential to position him for a tenure track associate professor slot. It would require, however, he complete a masters at another school – translate: taking on student loans – and he would be taking a pay cut. With a mortgage and family the opportunity, analyzed as a math problem, dropped from ideal to seemingly impossible.

Money was standing in the way of his dreams – a depressing sentiment for a blog about finding our niche – and a vivid reminder that pursuing our passion also involves a realistic consideration of the impact achieving our ideal would play in our lives. Finding what we love to do is often the easy part.