Think back to when you were five years old. One of the most common questions you were asked was, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" You were so certain at the time that you were going to be an astronaut, a dancer, or a pro baseball player. There was no doubt in your mind. Fast forward two decades: How's that working out for you? Oh, you work in finance now? Why'd you sell out to corporate America?

Turns out, if everyone ended up doing what they dreamed of doing when they were five, we'd probably have more humans on the moon than on Earth. A 2012 LinkedIn survey of 8,000 professionals found that only 30% of workers worldwide followed their childhood career dreams. In the United States, that number is even smaller: only 25%. But is that such a bad thing?

The "follow your dreams" adage, which is a quintessential element of our free-enterprise American culture, doesn't always work out in all respects. Maybe you dream to work for a nonprofit that specializes in saving an endangered species of bug, get married, have a family, and move to Madagascar. But by the time you're forty, you're a pro-bono lawyer living with your family in Maine. But hey, even though you haven't accomplished every dream, you still accomplished some. That's better than a lot of people.

Why do we stray from our career dreams so easily?

Mostly it comes from a realization that our dream jobs are unrealistic, not lucrative, no longer of interest, or are surrounded by a lot of competition. We've all seen those competitive singing shows, for example. Out of thousands of young hopefuls, only a handful will actually have a successful music career. So if you're not insanely motivated and willing to sacrifice everything, you'll just end up singing backup. But the world needs backup singers!

A certain disenchantment hits us after college, when we realize that the world is just a big game, and it's all about playing your cards right, having natural talent, connections, and luck. But we shouldn't be discouraged. Pursuing our passions as a career seems like a beautiful idea, but there are actually some reasons why it might not be the best choice.

According to career advisor Allison Green of US News, we should scrap the advice to "follow your dreams" as it applies to careers. She's not a cynic, but a realist. She says that the advice to pursue our dream careers often makes us study the wrong field in college, which won't properly prepare us for the field in which we end up working. (Not to generalize here, but acting school does not generally teach students how to wait tables, though many actors start out as such.) If you really want to be an astronaut, what are the odds that you're going to get through the incredibly rigorous stakes it takes to get to NASA? Maybe our eyes were bigger than our textbooks on that one.

The other reason that people shouldn't necessarily funnel their passions into their careers is that they don't realize that when it comes to a paycheck, baking 3,000 loaves of bread every morning might not seem like so much fun. Part of what makes our passions fun is that no one is forcing us to do them, but when our ability to produce a bestselling novel in one year will effect whether we can afford to eat, there's the same chance for stress, frustration, and burnout as we would have in any other job.

But what gets people bummed out about their current "non-dream" jobs is the guilt they feel at having "sold out." They are focused on how their jobs are just jobs, and not fulfilling some greater purpose. This leads to a loss of drive to perform, a general feeling of inadequacy, and ultimately, a greater chance of failure at that job, too.

A job is a privilege

Even if you're not an MLB player, your job is something that will help you put food on the table and provide for your loved ones. You must stay in a job to be able to afford to keep up your passions. What many workers need is an attitude adjustment. Just because your job has nothing to do with your passions doesn't mean that you should abandon your them. If you love to do something, you'll find the means to do it early in the morning or late at night.

The passion that you have for your hobbies can be applied to your job, too, no matter what it may be. You can feel passionate through your attitude and your understanding that life gives you stepping stones, that your dreams can be achieved outside of the realm of career. At the end of the day, you may not be an astronaut, but there are other ways to get to the moon.

For more information about how to launch a successful and fulfilling career, read this.

PayPath
Follow Us on

Afghan women

NBC

Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

Keep reading Show less

Stacker

Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.