When you set out to find a career, it seems there are two warring camps you have to decide between: doing something you love or doing something that pays well. The dream, of course, is to find something that fulfills both goals, and it is possible. Here are five big names that made it by following their hearts, and ended up filling their wallets.
1. Jillian Michaels
The ferocious trainer from NBC's The Biggest Loser went from (in her words) fat kid to fit kid. She revealed at an eDiets.com conference that she left high school at age 17 to start training others. At age 24, she decided she needed a "real job" and went to work as a motion picture packaging agent, a job she says made her wake up every morning and "wish for death." At 27, she went back to training and considers her job now what gives her life meaning. Since leaving her "real job", Jillian has created a fitness empire under the company name Empowered Media.
2. Stephenie Meyer
Now a household name for her authorial debut, Stephenie Meyer was a stay-at-home mother of three until a dream on June 2, 2003 changed her life forever. Over the course of three months, that dream became her first novel, "Twilight", which debuted at #5 on The New York Times bestseller list. Since then, the first book alone has sold over 47 million copies worldwide and the subsequent novels in the series fared even better, with "New Moon" hitting #1 on the Times' list and "Breaking Dawn" reaching 69 million copies sold.
3. Matt Stone
Trey Parker and Matt Stone are best known as co-creators of the Comedy Central show South Park. Matt Stone graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder as the first student to hold the double major of film and mathematics. Their passion for film, music and entertainment led them to create the Comedy Central's highest-rated and longest-running program.
4. Mark Zuckerberg
The founder of social networking site Facebook.com, Mark Zuckerberg began the site when he was a student at Harvard with the help of fellow students and roommates. In 2004, after dropping out of college, he went to Palo Alto with nothing but his fledgling site to his name. With the help of $12.7 million in venture capital, Facebook became the number one social networking site in terms of monthly visits with over 1.19 billion hits in January 2009 according to compete.com.
TaxesEven Jay Gatsby's stubborn optimism in The Great Gatsby would be hard pressed to believe that rags-to-riches stories are possible in today's economy. Find out why the ever-increasing wealth gap ...
InvestingHere is a realistic look at the "American Dream," based on your potential instead of an impossible ideal.
Personal FinanceHow to find a second career if you want to do more than retire in your later years.
RetirementInstead of longing for an early retirement, shoot for a mid-life career change instead.
Small BusinessBusiness success is often the result of hard work and having a passion for your career. Here of some example of passionate entrepreneurs who found success.
Personal FinanceDon't let the arrival of the new year cause you to rush into a change of career. Carefully examine your reasons for wanting a change.
Small BusinessIf you're looking to start a business, the best bet is to smart small and do something you enjoy.
Small BusinessGetting laid off is never fun, but there are ways you can prepare yourself emotionally and financially to best manage a layoff.
Personal FinanceWe look at all of the jobs available in the finance sector, and the education and experience you need to get them.
RetirementAre you on track to post-work bliss? We'll tell you how to find out.