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Discovering Your Passion

Question:

Everybody tells me I should find a job that I’m passionate about. But what I’m passionate about doesn’t pay very well, at least not at my level. Where do I go from here?

Answer:

Well, you have to start somewhere. You may have to stay at your current job while you think about it, but if you don’t start, you’ll never arrive.

It might be helpful to start a list of things you love and things you hate. These can be jobs (“I’d love to work with animals; I’d hate to work in a coal mine.”) It could be hobbies or general activities (“I really love quilting; I can’t stand golf.”) Make it as long and as detailed as you can.

Look at the factors that the things you love have in common. Are they perhaps all creative? Do they involve being outdoors? Do you like to be in complete control of them? Do they need other people to be successful?

Try new things. You may find some you love. While you’re doing this, remember that we are rarely good at a new activity the first time we try; give new things a fair chance. Keep in mind that there will always be someone better at it than you are, but it’s okay. You’ll be able to learn from them.

Learn all you can about jobs that sound interesting, keeping an open mind. They may not be what you think. For instance, if you enjoy computers, you may think that construction is not for you. But construction companies are becoming increasingly dependent on high-level computer programs.

Look for a problem that you can solve. Brainstorm. Next time you hear yourself say, “Somebody ought to do something about that,” consider yourself to be that somebody.

Ask the people who know you well what they see in you. You may be surprised to discover that they think you’d do very well as a (fill in the blank.) Get them to talk about what they do, and why they think it’s fun. You may become inspired.

Workforce Services can be helpful in this area too. We have several seminars and tools that will help you identify your passion and the direction you want to take in your career. Ask at the Resource Desk for the Self Directed Search information. Attend Career Exploration and Instant Confidence! Sell Your Strengths (about transferable skills.) If it’s time to go back to school to prepare for your perfect job, go to Navigating Success to see if you qualify for a training scholarship.

Keep searching. The job you were meant to do is out there.

About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.