Recently I have read some articles stating that finding one’s passion in life and then determining how to identify employment which allows you to work within your passion is not a good idea. The general argument is that if you have a passion for something and use that as your basis for employment, you will come to hate your passion and be miserable. There may be some truth in that argument, but I am not convinced. I think there is value in using your passion(s) to determine what you find for employment.

Over my years of employment, I have come to realize that there is a difference between a job and meaningful employment. I have done a number of “jobs” that provided little to no satisfaction for me in life. They were a way to earn a paycheck which allowed me to pay bills and to provide food for my household. Each of these types of jobs left me feeling like it truly was work and I would dread every time I had to go to my place of employment.

I took some time to get to a place where I could name my passion(s). A significant passion which I have is engaging in relationships with people. I enjoy finding connecting points and learning about the other individual. Assisting others in growing in their own lives adds to this passion. When I was in college, I think this is what led me to consider a teaching career. As I prepared to graduate with my degree, I had taken courses which allowed me to teach in the area of high school social studies and work with the teams in the area of athletic training. This appeared to me to be a way I could engage in relationships while assisting the teenagers who I would be working with grow in their own lives. In college, I had not been able to name my passions but looking back it now seems clear to me. However, instead of following this path, I was presented with an opportunity to accept a job in management with the Target stores and I took the opportunity. Notice that I stated I accepted a job because it quickly became only that.

Other examples from my life could be listed when I accepted a job and not a position which would allow me to use my passions. I would eventually find employment in an area where I could live out my passion at work. While no position is without its trials and challenges, if you are in one in which your passions are being addressed, it is much easier to weather through those difficult situations and times. When you work just a job, there is less of a drive to remain in the situation.

I would also point out that I think passions change in life. The things which you are passionate about when you are in your early 20s are not the same as those when you are in your 50’s. Be open to realizing that these changes occur. At different points in your life, you should pause and reassess your passion. You may discover that a change has happened or you may reaffirm the passions which you have had previously.

Contrary to recent articles which I have been reading regarding the error of following your passion into employment, my advice is to do exactly that. My experience has been that when I wake up in the morning and know I get to spend a day putting my passion to use, I am more eager to head off to the office. Here are my tips for those who may be in the employment hunting aspect of life:

  1. Identify and name those things in which you are passionate.
  2. Determine what energizes you and motivates you to go through the day.
  3. Seek input from others regarding what they see in you and where you display happiness.
  4. Explore how your passion(s) and happiness can be identified in employment opportunities.
  5. Search for work which will utilize your passion(s) as much as possible.