Last updateTue, 02 Jun 2020 11pm

24 Karat Corner: Please don’t follow your passion

It’s April, and that means only one thing around here. The idiot that owns the used car lot on the edge of town has bought up all of the available television advertising spots and is now bombarding the airwaves, yelling and screaming, that I should hurry down right now, and he’ll double my IRS tax refund. It’s beyond annoying!

This year I’m considering over-paying my taxes by a huge amount, just to go in and have him double my refund on a ten year old Chevy Nova. I’m not sure what I would do with the car, but maybe that will shut him up!

When his ads come on and I reach for the mute button, I often wonder how and when in his professional development did he think shouting at his customers was a good way to drive business. Did the commencement speaker at his high school graduation tell him to “follow his passion” (they always do, don’t they?), and since he always wanted to be obnoxious, thought that this was the best way to monetize it? Luckily for us, most of the advertising in our industry is smart and dignified (although I’m always on the look-out for those ads that aren’t, and feel free to forward any that you see so I can mock them in a future article).

Despite popular belief, “follow your passion” is not very good advice for two reasons. First, you may not be very good at your passion. In college, my passion was football. But even back in the 1970s there wasn’t a lot of demand for 175 pound linebackers who couldn’t break 5 seconds in the 40 yard dash with the wind at his back. My passion, and my football career, was mercifully put to rest with the last game of my senior year.

Secondly, your passion may not be all that lucrative. At the moment, my nephew’s passion seems to be laying on the couch watching Family Feud. And, while he often has many of the top five answers on the board, I don’t know how he will ever parlay that into making a living.

A better strategy for life might be to get really good at something that pays well and will always be in demand, and turn your passion into your hobby. Talented bench jewelers, stone setters, polishers, watchmakers, CAD/CAM operators, and salespeople will always be needed, and enjoy job security with rising salaries. The work is rewarding, mentally stimulating, and requires creativity. So, even if it isn’t your passion, it can provide the financial resources and time that will allow you to pursue your true passion in style, whatever that may be.

But, you need to be good. And, to get good, you need education and training. Education is expensive, and that’s where The 24 Karat Club comes in. The 24 Karat Club offers a variety of scholarships to members of the retail jewelry industry to attend seminars, up-grade certifications, learn a new skill, or go back to school. Ask your favorite 24 Karat Club member to consider nominating you, or someone you know, for one of our scholarships. A list of scholarships and Club members can be found at www.The24KaratClub.org. Many members will have applications with them at the up-coming trade shows, so please ask for one when you visit their booth.

And, like so many members of The 24 Karat Club, if jewelry is your passion, you are indeed, one of the lucky ones. Just don’t shout about it in your TV ads.

Howard Kelrick is President of Finger Mate and a  board member of The 24 Karat Club, SEUS.  Finger Mate manufactures and installs expandable ring shanks and sells to retail jewelers throughout North America. Contact Howard at 954-458-2700 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.