I’ve read a lot of career advice that suggests the best career is the one that stems from your passion, your hobbies, your loves. But for a lot of people, this is some vague, amorphic advice. The two most common complaints with this advice:
1. I don’t have a passion. 2. No one will pay me to do what I love.
I think both of these points are wrong, but let’s start with the first. Not having a passion or not knowing your passion…Obviously like a game on the back of your cereal box, one of these things is not like the other. Your secret career passion might be lurking in the back of your mind, or it might be right in front of you. People often get hung up on the idea of passion. Just because you don’t eat, breathe, sleep, and sweat your passion; if you don’t wake up thinking about it in the morning, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Maybe you are good at landscape planning (picking what flowers go where, etc) and gardening is not a terrible, time-wasting chore for you…maybe that would be a good career path for you! Rather than looking for your passion, you might look for something you are good at, and don’t hate. For example, I’m pretty good at tutoring, and have an extensive background in it, but it drives me crazy…so that’s not a good path for me. What you find might not be your image of a passion, because let’s face it, a lot of people might say their passion is watching American Idol, and that’s not going to get you very far.
So, to start, you can make a list of all the things you are reasonably good at, and don’t mind doing.
You’ve got your list…but…no one will pay you?!
People will pay for pretty much anything. I pay for a personal trainer, even though I already know all the moves that he wants me to do. I pay someone to make me salads for lunch, even when I buy spinach, etc specifically for making lunch-salads myself.
It might take some time to get rolling, but likely people will pay you for whatever it is you are trying to sell. Believe in yourself and what you are trying to do, and others will come to believe it, too. Get a good message; work your idea so you can understand, see, and explain to others how you are making the world a better place.
When I was younger, I wanted to be an artisan. I was heavily discouraged from pursuing that as a profession, but I still kept making things. I tried to sell my work a few times, but never really had my heart in it because I always believed I wasn’t good enough, and no one would want what I was making. I’m only just starting to realize that people pay for quality, no matter what it is. If I make quality, it will sell. So, if I believe in myself, in what I am doing, and that I am good enough…I think that right there is the makings of a good career.
If the thought, the possibility, the potential of doing something new excites you, then you should pursue it! Start out small, test the waters (i.e. don’t quit your job and invest all your savings into something you’ve only seen done on youtube), and just maybe you will find yourself in that dream-job situation.
Your turn: What does your list look like? What are some potential paths you could take to a more positive career, and what do you think is holding you back?