How to Find Passion at Work, Part 2

This is the conclusion of a two-part entry. Read: How to Find Passion at Work, Part 1

I’ve worked with low-income job seekers who think they will always have to choose between finding fulfilling work, or fulfilling financial obligations. These job seekers feel that they “can’t afford” to be happy at work.

Likewise, older adults often think “following your bliss” is a young man’s game. But you don’t always have to choose between love and money. There are several ways to fit your interests into your career, or find ways to follow your bliss in other parts of your life.

There is no one right way to fit your passions into your career. Some of us know that we will not be happy with any job that is not a direct match to our core interests, and are willing to make big sacrifices to make this dream a reality.

Like any who is job hunting, these passion-seekers will benefit from having a plan that includes defined career goals, researching various positions, learning about the job market, and creating a timeline to meet goals.

Not everyone is able to quit their job and embark on a major career change. In reality, our economy would collapse if everyone walked off their jobs today to chase their dreams.

Besides, our interests are only one factor in choosing a career. Some of us choose to be in a job that doesn’t match our personality because the salary or schedule fit other aspects of our lives. Thankfully, this group of employees is not out of luck. Finding passion at work is not all-or-none proposition.

Do you remember the movie “City Slickers?”  At the beginning of the comedy, Billy Crystal’s character, Mitch, is sleepwalking through life, dragging himself to a job that he hates day after day.

In the final scene of the movie, when Mitch returns from his adventure at the dude ranch, his wife tells him that it’s OK to quit his job in search of happiness. Mitch’s response is that he’s not going to quit his job; he’s just going do it better.

How can we apply this attitude to the job we have right now?

  • Are there new projects that we can take on that align better with our interests?
  • Are there other small changes we can make at our current job that will help spark our passions?

At different times in our lives, we’ve all prioritized financial responsibilities over our own happiness. And that’s OK; as long as we are aware of the choice we are making and look for other ways to incorporate our passions into our lives.

Hobbies are an obvious way to live out our passions. Finding activities that can be done on a regular basis is a great way to use our talents and peak our interests in a way that a job can’t.

Even those of us who have jobs that we are passionate about will seek out hobbies that match other interests we have. We are all multifaceted people and it’s doubtful that any one job or one hobby will completely fulfill us.

Whether our jobs are fulfilling or not, working fulltime is often so draining that we don’t have as much time as we would like to spend on our passions. When scheduling is an issue, it becomes even more important to making our passions a priority. We might not be able to spend time on our interests every day, but we can schedule time once a month, or plan a vacation dedicated to that special interest.

It’s also important to think about what we want our lives to look like in a few years. Today, we might be fulfilled or too busy with work, but what about when the job is gone? Then what? We’ve all heard stories about newly retired people who don’t know who they are, or what they want to do with their lives once they stop working.

A coworker of mine has the perfect plan to keep this from happening to her. She has started taking piano lessons at age 45. Learning the piano is something she’s always wanted to do, and now she finally has the time to invest in this passion. She also knows that it might take her 15 or 20 years to become really good, which is right on time for her to enjoy playing in her retirement years.

Tapping into our passions is important to everyone. Our passions help define us as individuals and often give our lives direction and meaning. Those of us who want to include our passions in our career can choose between finding a new job, and finding ways to fit our interests into our current jobs. There are several ways to incorporate our passions into other aspects of our lives, through our hobbies and our retirement plans.

We all choose what role our passions will play in our careers. Once we decide how to live out our passions, the next 88,000 hours of our lives will be a lot more enjoyable.

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