Passion and Your Career

by mike on March 30, 2008

I’ve been reflecting on a few recent conversations with some former colleagues lately. Inevitably, the conversations always turn to career goals. This is a common theme in mid-career professionals and roughly those in their late 20’s/early 30’s. Why? Most mid-career types have been in the workforce for a few years, say 5 to 10, and are increasingly finding themselves unhappy with their current situation – either compensation, career field or employer. Some are interested in changing career fields. Some are contemplating going back to school. Some just don’t enjoy their day job and the people they work with. More often than not, money is the driving factor behind their unhappiness.

What’s missing? One word, passion. I’m not saying *all*, but most people don’t have passion for what they do. Forget the money for a second. Money is important, but shouldn’t be your driving factor. Hopefully, in time, you’ll be able to make enough money to support yourself and your family. The first question I usually ask when in these conversations is what do you really want to do? You’d be surprised how many people can’t answer this simple question. It’s not easy. Adults usually think in terms of what they can’t do or possible constraints to doing what they really want. That’s b.s. in my opinion. Find something that you really enjoy or interests you. Learn all you can about the career field. Blogs are a fantastic resource. Talk to current employees at companies you are interested in. Use social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Find out about typical education requirements and work experience. Then go for it, but be patient. You are building a career for the long term.

Here’s a wake-up call for those of us who are pursuing our passion. Don’t expect to enjoy every single aspect of your job. While you may love many parts of your job there may be others that you dread and that’s okay. It’s unrealistic to have such high expectations. No job is perfect. Most people strive for the perfect situation. As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side. The great thing about passion is it will drive you through these obstacles.

I’ll leave you with this. We spend roughly 40 hours per week (most of us much more than that) at work. Let’s say, working 50 weeks per year for an average of 40 years. That’s 80,000 hours of our lives working. Wow! That’s a lot of hours if you think about it. Why not spend that time at something you enjoy and are passionate about?

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