The tale of two passions

What should you do when you can't decide between two equally passionate directions for your career?  For many of us, there are many things we could do that would make us happy.  Sometimes, you can whittle down that list to one or two great passions.  Sometimes a great opportunity comes along that diverges from your current career.  What happens when you cannot decide between your two highest passions.  Should you do both?  Unfortunately, splitting your efforts between two careers usually ends up with failure in both.  The more directed and focused you can be in your career, the greater success you will reach along with a deeper happiness from a job well done.  So, how can one decide?  Here is I dealt with this issue.

First the background.  For a while now, I have struggled with deciding between two different career tracks.  I attempted to integrate those passions in my career as an academic, but I am still drawn to specializing in one or the other.  Both passions fall in line with my central purpose in life.  Both passions have long-term viability in my career as an academic.  Both have potential for a consulting/expert business beyond academy.  The first of these passions is to think, write, and educate about making decisions using applied philosophy, particularly extending Objectivism's moral and epistemological foundations.  The second passion is to think, write, and educate about making decisions for developing a web presence, particularly with emerging web technologies.  I have tried, unsuccessfully, for the past couple months to decide which career tracks offers the most potential happiness and financial gain. 

Here is how I propose to deal with this dilemma.

For a short time, I will do both - equally.  I will set up two dueling frameworks.  Two blogs, two twitter accounts, and two facebook pages interconnected so that I can hit maximum exposure of my ideas with minimal effort.  I will then set up dual marketing schemes, targeted at the appropriate audiences.  Then I will proceed to blog once a week in each framework and post status updates/ micro-blog 5 times a week for one month.  At the end of the first month, I will evaluate three things for both passions 1. market response 2. difficulty in finding and writing content and 3. how much did I enjoy the process.  The last of which being the most important.  If there is no clear winner after the first month, I will continue for a second month and re-evaluate again - perhaps even a third and fourth month, if needed.  I need to convenience myself which career track focus will create the greatest enduring value for me.  The other passion will be regulated to a hobby.

While I am in a unique position to try both career tracks simultaneously, not everyone has that luxury.  In cases where decisions have to made quickly (as in the case of once in a lifetime opportunities that expire in a few days), developing a weighted average matrix might help.  Essentially, that is what I'm doing, but collecting real data rather than just estimates.  In a weighted average matrix, you first identify the most important criteria to be used in your decision.  If you were buying a house, you might identify criteria such as size, location, layout, etc.  Then, for each criteria, you provide a weight as to how important that criteria is compared to the other criteria.  Size might be 50% of your decision, location might be 25%, layout might be 10% and so on.  After you have thought through how important each criteria is, you look at each option and measure how well it meets each criteria.  When exact measures cannot be found, best guess estimates have to suffice.  You put these measurements into a matrix and calculate the weighted average.  The option with the highest score is the winner.

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