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 Post subject: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:31 pm 
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How? I've been at my job for 6 years. I'm no longer happy there and it causes me anxiety. However there are a number of good things about the organization I work for (salary, benefits, leave time) and I'm at a point in my life now that if I leave this job for another one it really needs to be worth it. Money is already tight even with a two income household. So if I leave I want it to be for something that I think would really make me happy. The problem is, I don't know what that would be. I don't seem to have a "passion" for anything. I also don't know what I'm good at. Any job I've had I did well in but that is because I work hard and take initiative to do things that go beyond my normal job description, but I can't really say I have a talent in anything. What is my passion and how do I find it? Sure I would love to have a job hugging animals all day but there isn't much of a market for that and it probably wouldn't pay a salary. I'm limited to where I live now. I can not move from the area. Considering the majority of your life is spent at a job it should be a job that makes you happy (or at the very least doesn't cause you such anxiety that you get sick to your stomach) but how do I find what I am good at? How do I find my passion in life?


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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:26 pm 
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You have a workable problem whether or not you are young. Sticking to one field in this economy is now a rare occurrence and people have way more career changes these days. What are your hobbies and what do you like to do on your off-time? I'm a writer, but I work for a winery and it totally works--don't discount jobs that might seem not at all relevant in your field! Especially if you are young, just follow your short term interests and out of that you'll find focus.


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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:42 pm 
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I'm 38. I have a child and a mortgage. I feel like it is getting too late to start over from the beginning. I feel stuck.


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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:53 pm 
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You're fine! I have a mortgage but no children, and I still would not refuse career changes for the next few decades (I'm 32). I guess I don't really know what it's like with children, but I've seen a lot of people in their thirties and forties pursue different careers.


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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:23 am 
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I can relate to a lot of things in your post and can offer you my perspective. I've found a job that isn't necessarily my "passion," but the environment is such that I love going to work and I've become passionate about my work, even though the field itself doesn't necessarily interest me. What makes me happy in my job is that I have co-workers who are compassionate and treat each other (and myself) like decent human beings. The skills I have are valued and I am (mostly) kept occupied and not too bored.

I found my job through a friend who was working there and talked about her great office environment. As soon as a position came up for which I was qualified, she gave me a call and less than 6 hours later I was interviewed and hired. Maybe ask your friends or people you meet what they do and how much they like it. Maybe you'll find a great workplace that helps you find your passion!

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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:45 pm 
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I was working in my preferred field early on - with dogs, at 22. I ran my own business and I loved it. But I burned out quickly and couldn't handle the stress level after 5 years.

My husband's passions have always been around cars. He is a mechanic at a restoration shop. He now resents his job as he is too burned out to pursue his own projects when he gets home.

Now I work at a wine store, and I enjoy the booze industry and would like to find a way to stay in it, but if someone samples one of my favourite wines and doesn't like it I won't go home and cry about it or let it keep me up at night. I'm researching different possibilities for myself, though, and hope to go back to school soon. I have a mortgage but no kids. Unless 4 dogs count.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, find something you like, but aiming for your passion doesn't always lead to being fulfilled.

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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:09 pm 
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I don't think most people have a passion that is out there waiting to be discovered. And I think if you were one of those people, you probably would know what that thing is by now. You'd be a concert pianist or a softball coach or something.

I think that for most people it works more like what Erika is describing where they become passionate about what they do. So that's the approach I have chosen. I've tried to find an environment that I am comfortable in and people I like working with and I try to approach my work passionately. I went through my job search recently and after not getting the offer I really wanted, I realized I was going to have to find somewhere that wasn't actively interfering with my happiness (it sounds like your current job is) and find ways to be happy in a place that was maybe not the thing I had always dreamed of doing.

I don't know if that is helpful at all.

The other thing I wanted to say is, you've described yourself as not having any particular talent but as doing well in all your jobs because you work hard and go beyond the job description. I know there are lots of different ideas about what talent is, but I'm pretty firmly of the opinion that talent is in large part working hard on something and then doing it well. There is of course a considerable component that is opportunity, exposure, interest, and experience. But what I strongly reject the idea that talent is somehow separate from hard work.

Maybe you have no talent. But I think that's highly, highly unlikely. I think if you have done really well in all of your jobs and gone beyond the job description, you do have talents. They've probably just been undervalued/under-recognized.

I'm so sorry your current job situation is so toxic. I hope you find something better soon. Good luck.

Edit for spelling, though concern pianist might be an interesting career path.


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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:43 pm 
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paperweight wrote:
Edit for spelling, though concern pianist might be an interesting career path.


I know this was a typo, but I kinda want that job.

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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:51 pm 
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I think it's good to do things you really love doing but I don't think those things necessarily have to be the things you get paid to do to be happy.

I like a lot of things about my job (the ridiculously low pay and lack of health insurance is not one of them) but I don't know if I'm passionate about it. I'm passionate about some of the things the organization I work for hopes to accomplish, but a lot of my job itself is boring, frustrating and/or super stressful. But I'll probably stay in this field (hopefully eventually in a better paid position) because I don't know what else I would like more. I used to want to be a full-time freelance writer but the reality of making ends meet that way is so stressful I don't know if I would actually be happier that way even if I was more passionate about the actual work.

If it's inspiration, though, when I was 6 and my brother was 10 my dad moved us across the country to go to grad school to become a psychologist.

But of course many years later he's in a job he hates. That's life I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:52 pm 
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Sounds like you kind of have two different problems. One is you are unhappy at your work, the other is wanting a passion. Those two things definitely don't have to be one and the same. I think the more concrete issue, your current job, should be your focus right now, because once you feel more settled and less anxious in your life, then you can start finding a passion. Be on the lookout for jobs, troll craigslist. A friend of mine applied for one job with the county he really wanted, didn't get it, but kept looking, and three months later a way higher paying, more rewarding position (that oversees the position he did not get) came up, he applied, and got it! Apply for things even if you think it's a big step up, if you think you might not have enough experience! Or something in a different field if you see something where the environment seems stimulating/rewarding for you.

Then once you feel happy in a job, you might either find your passion there, or you can start devoting time to branching out, taking classes at a community center or something. Just trying things out for the first time. Would you like to try your hand at a pottery wheel? Learning French? Modern Dance? Engineering? Mig Welding?

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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:47 am 
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I agree with a lot of the others - you don't have to be passionate about what you work with, in order to be happy.
I think the whole concept of finding your passion is kind of misunderstood, at least from my experience. For me, passion is something that is unavoidable and that I HAVE to spend time doing, or I feel miserable and restless and unfulfilled. It's not something that is just laying out there, waiting to be discovered - it's something that is sparkled suddenly, and that you can't just let go of when you have discovered it. Does that make sense? It's the thing that makes me cancel on dinners and spend all of my money and time and energy on things that a lot of people don't understand.

If you feel like you're lacking passion in your life, I would suggest trying out new things. Creative classes (like art, writing, dancing, music etc) or visiting museums/galleries/etc. Engorge yourself in activities and see what you like.
I think it's important to note that passion seems to be a lot about attitude as well - people who have a positive attitude seem more passionate, at least in my personal experience. People who have an easy time becoming exited and asking questions and doing stuff without worrying too much about why they're doing it seem to be the most passionate people. It's about being able to let yourself get a little lost in something. It doesn't have to be something creative, it can be anything. It can be reading an awesome book about the field you're already in, and sparking the passion that way. It can be becoming a member of a scientific book club.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the only way to be open to passion is to search out new things and be open minded. Being a passionate person is a lot of work, because it means that you have to do something that is not necessarily pragmatic or rational at all.


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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:08 am 
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Everyone has said great things, but I just wanted to share that at age 52 my mom started her dream career. You're not too old to switch careers!

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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:23 am 
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there is so much wisdom in here!!

i think most of what i wanted to say has been said (I really think Erika sums up exactly what I feel) but i want to add

1- your passions and situations grow, and people often feel they've failed when they're not slap-bang-super-happy with their job. but we can't be if we're growing and changing unless the job grows with us, and not all do.

2- another vote about the dream job. i now have the job i dreamed of for years, but the fact is that you still have headaches in dream jobs- they're just different from the ones in not-so-dreamy jobs. I was shocked to have massive burnout this year and have to take a month off to get my head straight. And like Moon's husband- the fact that my job and my hobbies intersect means that i can't spend time writing, for example, and even reading makes me grumpy since that's all I do all the time.

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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:59 am 
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Bathes in Braggs
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Quote:
I think it's important to note that passion seems to be a lot about attitude as well - people who have a positive attitude seem more passionate, at least in my personal experience. People who have an easy time becoming exited and asking questions and doing stuff without worrying too much about why they're doing it seem to be the most passionate people. It's about being able to let yourself get a little lost in something. It doesn't have to be something creative, it can be anything. It can be reading an awesome book about the field you're already in, and sparking the passion that way. It can be becoming a member of a scientific book club.


I don't think you necessarily have to be positive to be passionate - I'm pretty introspective and gloomy and stuff - but it definitely helps to be curious, nosy and open to new ideas.

I have the opposite problem, I have way too many passions and not enough time to fulfill them all (or any properly).

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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:10 am 
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I feel you on so many levels! I don't have hobbies, I'm not super talented at anything, I never had time when I was younger to develop a passion or go out on a limb trying new things because I had to work, work, work to survive. I've always had jobs that paid the bills but have nothing to do with fulfillment or satisfaction or a passion. Some were good some were bad, I learned from all of them and tried to grow from each experience and not make the same mistakes again.

At this point I'm starting over and I'm really excited about it. I am probably going to cut my income in half next year and no longer be working a desk job with perks and benefits. But I'm ok with it. We don't have kids, but my husband just turned 40 and I'm 32. We own a home and have all the normal adult responsibilities and we hate it. Not as in we hate being adults and having responsibilities but we finally are willing to admit that we aren't typical home owning suburbanite people. We tried, we failed, we are moving on. Easier said than done without kids, I'm sure. But if you really want to go crazy and change everything about your life I'm sure it could be done with some elbow grease and planning. As long as your partner is on board.

Do you do any volunteer work? I haven't really applied myself in that area and I'm regretting it. I always said that I didn't have the time or I was too tired on the weekends and had other stuff going on. But I'm realizing now that volunteering can provide fulfillment and tie you into a community of great people. Maybe instead of looking for a job that is rewarding you can find something to do on your own instead. It might not pay and you might be stretching yourself thin on time and energy but it could be amazing! You never know.

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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:33 pm 
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Thanks so much for all the insight. I am currently looking for a new job but I just don't know what I would be good at. I feel like I often point myself towards lower level jobs and positions because I don't feel I'm good enough to look higher. I guess I'm in a funk. I appreciate everyone's point of view. Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:09 pm 
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Biodancer, I don't know if this is applicable to you, but if you are a college graduate your university might offer free career counseling and aptitude tests. Might be something useful to check out. You mention that you work hard and take initiative outside of your job description, and I hope you know what a valuable and uncommon quality this is. Many people are happy to skate by doing the minimum. When interviewing for new jobs, even if in a different field, you can mention this, and how you can apply it to quickly learning a new set of tasks and always being up for a challenge.
Though my work is not my passion exactly, I am happier than I have ever been in my life, because I am working a job that I like well enough, doesn't make me too stressed, and gives me a schedule that lets me focus on my passions outside of work. I still dream about working for a vegan/animal rights organization, but part of me wonders if my passion would stop being my passion if it was my work.
I hope you can find a cool new opportunity soon, without much of a pay cut if any. Life is so short, I want you to be happy and loving it!

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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:20 pm 
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Biodancer wrote:
Thanks so much for all the insight. I am currently looking for a new job but I just don't know what I would be good at. I feel like I often point myself towards lower level jobs and positions because I don't feel I'm good enough to look higher. I guess I'm in a funk. I appreciate everyone's point of view. Thank you.

I don't have anything to add, really, I just wanted to say you're not alone! I relate to this post especially. I keep getting jobs through temp agencies, and then I do well because they're low-level jobs and I work hard, but I haven't liked any of them and don't know what I'm going to do. I get comfortable too easily and like you, don't have a specific passion to guide me. I'm also mid-thirties and looking to just do something completely new. I've been at this job for 4 years, and need to move on.

So I wanted to wish you luck! I'm trying to find a better job for now by really thinking about which aspects of my jobs I've liked/hated the most. (For example- Like: working with data. Hate: calling and/or disciplining people.) I figure if I'm happier for those 40 hours a week, I'll have more energy and drive to try new things outside of work, and that may lead to something.


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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:37 pm 
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I agree with lots of things people have said so far, about how lots of times your work environment is more important to your job satisfaction than whether or not you're passionate about the field itself, how you might find it really rewarding to pursue some extra-curricular outlets without thinking about them as career prospects necessarily, etc. If I were you, I would focus more as far as what types of jobs to pursue on the types of activities and work environments you enjoy, and look for a better fit from there. Do you like working more autonomously, or more collaboratively? Stuff like that. I think talking about those sorts of things in a cover letter as well as an interview will help you to weed out environments that won't be a good fit for you, too.

I also think it's really great just for everybody in their lives to try out new types of things! Even if you try something and don't care for it, just pushing your limits and meeting new people and experiencing new things can be really rewarding, useful, and exciting. Definitely don't feel like 38 is too old to start something new! Hopefully you'll live to a nice old age and be active and engaged in the world around you for decades to come- if you start doing something now that you end up loving, by the time you're 70 you could have been doing that thing for over 30 years! And be awesome at it! Maybe something you start doing from scratch now will even become your job in another 10 years. You never know, so you gotta put yourself out there.

I also agree that it's important to aim high in your job search, and don't talk yourself out of applying for things because you don't have tons of experience with exactly that job yet. Yeah if your current job is making you totally miserable you might want to apply for some "safety" jobs that might just have a better vibe for you, but I have definitely found for myself that the best way to move up is to apply for things that are just above my experience level and find a way to describe my experience in ways that are as relevant as possible.

Also, I kind of love brainstorming about jobs. Maybe if you post what things you have experience with or are looking at, people can help you brainstorm new opportunities in a more concrete way. I think I'm also pretty good at resume writing; if you wanted to pm me your resume I could give you some suggestions for ways to make your skills more broadly applicable.


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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:19 pm 
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Hi! I agree with so much that everyone has said! and yes, your passion and career do not have to be the same thing!

and sometimes when it IS the same thing it can also be crazy draining:
I am currently working and studying in the field of what could be called my passion (printmaking/teaching) and I occasionally get SO BURNED OUT.
Like, I will be on the third night of little sleep, grading student projects and working on something of my own that isn't coming together, and on my 500th cup of coffee at 2am and the 15th time i've had to knock points off a student piece because of a technical failure on the students part that they could have avoided if they had just STARTED EARLIER and ASKED FOR HELP DURING THE CLASS TIME I GAVE THEM, and my e-mail dings that my rent is due and I look at my own work which is a mess and I just want to shrivel up in to a ball or marry some nice rich person and live a life of leisure.
and usually I cry a lot and take a nap and wake up feeling like shiitake and plod through the next few days thinking about actual money-earning careers I could have chosen, or decisions in my life that would have gotten me to a completely different place where I wasn't so stressed and stretched thin.
and then i'll be in class and helping a student brainstorm through something that isn't working, something that they've come to me with bloodshot eyes about, a print that just wont sing in the way they want it to and we'll talk it through. I'll show them some other work, give them some reading, whatever, and then I'll see it. i'll see their mind working so hard and finding a solution to the problem and they will be so excited about it and then they will go make the work and it will be the best thing they've made all semester, and suddenly it's so worth the garbage because I get to be this teeny part of someone's transformation in to a fully-fledged artist and suddenly it's everything again.

and that happens every few months.
my point is at least 30% of the time I am regretting my decision to go after this, so it might not even feel "worth it" if you DO find your passion, and you DO get a job in it.

I know a LOT of artists who work in a job that they don't particularly care about so that they can work on their practice and not worry about their creative energy being sapped at work, so maybe finding your passion via volunteering or taking classes can be a thing you do aside from work.

any way, good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: How to find your passion
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:39 pm 
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I was talking with my brother about this today. About whether I shouldn't try to work in IT. Now IT, I'm really interested, but all the sexism overload horror stories just frighten me so much. But still I'm at this point again where I think I should find something that pays well and is ok & leaves me time to do the stuff I'm passionate about...

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