I just read an article in HuffPost by a computer engineer who suggests that you should pick a STEM career. You really can't beat the job security, after all.
But if, like most people, you end up working for most of your life, spending your days on a keyboard in a cubicle squelching your inner artist might sound more like a prison sentence than a ticket to financial freedom.
If you'd told me while I was an idealistic college student that I should pursue a STEM career, I'd have ignored you. I've always been more creative than formulaic, more analytical than logical. I liked some of my science classes, but my favorite classes tended to be the ones where I'd dive deeply into books and tear them apart.
But now that I'm older and real life has found me, I'm much more practical than I used to be. I can see the value in knowing you can feed your children and buy them clothes.
I also don't think I appreciated how interdisciplinary STEM fields can be, or that I understood the value of fields outside my own. I used to gripe about general education classes I was required to take; now I wish I had taken a few more.
But here's one thing I've also learned: decisions made from fear rarely turn out well. Every time I've done something because I was afraid of the other option or because I thought I had to, I ended up miserable until I could get out of the situation. Sometimes circumstances can force you into making choices you might not otherwise have considered, it's true.
So I don't think money is irrelevant, but at the same time, it can create serious misery if it's your only motivation. If I were to do it again, I'd tell myself to go after what I love. But I'd also remind myself to figure out a smart way to make money at the same time.