Following your Passion as a Career Strategy
Early on, most of us are encouraged to follow our passion. While this is a nice sentiment, it might be sending the wrong message. The theory of letting passion dictate one’s career started out in the 1970s. In the decades that followed, it has gained momentum, becoming a fact or truth to many generations of workers.
Passion and Career Destruction
The follow your passion mindset dictates that we turn our passions into our main source of income. As beautiful this thought may be, in some cases, our passions have little to do with work and education. The passion mindset could be the main reason why many Generation Xers and Millennials feel so much discontent that they continuously switch careers.
This discontent breeds an impatience that can destroy careers. When an individual steers his or her career path based on the passion mindset, they begin to ask themselves what they want instead of considering what skills they can develop to make a decent and stable income.
Sometimes those who follow their passion barely get by because there is not enough demand for their products and/or skills in their desired location. However, they might tell themselves that it is better to make less doing what you love than make a better income doing something you are not passionate about.
Follow your passion if you like, just make certain it is an economic practicality in the geography where you wish to live. When you are planning your career or your next career move, try to follow your passion, but explore the market in your desired location before you make your decision.
I know a dairy nutritionist who lives in a major city in the southeast. It takes many hours drive or air travel to get to a dairy producer. This means it is harder for this person to grow a larger client base.
Break Free From the Passion Mindset
Society has instilled this mindset in the population for generations. It is the theme of many popular movies and books. Is it time to break free from this mindset? Here are some tips to help you learn to be content where you are or find the way to follow your bliss.
Find a career you can enjoy and will pay you enough to support your passion in your free time. I am not advocating that everyone should change jobs and start earning six figures driving their local garbage truck so they can paint, ride horses or fly a plane on the weekends. I just think that career enjoyment and your personal passion can be two different things. My father, now 89, has had a very full life. If you talk with him about it, he will speak very little about his career. Dad will talk about his music, his church, his family and friends and his faith. What he did is not who he is.
Explore to be sure
If there is something about which you are passionate, talk with others with a similar passion. Talk with them about career options in that field and what you would need to learn to be able to have a fulfilling career in your passion. It is very possible that you will need to learn more to make the transition. Find out how much you would potentially earn as well and ask them if there is a demand for the service or product you would provide or make.
Most people will hear this and become disenchanted. Those are people who do not like their jobs and lead unfulfilled lives. Once you select a position about which you are passionate and have determined that it is economically viable in your locale, then study, learn and master the skills needed to be successful. If others have learned it, so can you. The time is going to pass anyway.
Alternative Ways to Follow Your Passion
Consider part-time work in addition to your job. Dad worked for himself a couple of nights each week for decades working with his passion. He then had a daytime part-time job he loved when he retired. He retired from his part-time work at 88. That is career passion.
Volunteer with a not-for-profit organization that is involved in your passion. It is a great way to network and learn. Volunteering could lead to a career.
My last tip is to become an online expert in your passion and turn it into either a part-time gig, through sites like Fiverr.com before trying it as a full-time role. Market yourself through social media. Remember, follow your passion, but do so by providing a valuable product or service to others.
Dan Simmons, CPC • Sr. Recruiter
Daniel C. Simmons, a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) who has been recruiting since 1991 and owns Continental Search. In December 2015, Dan celebrated his 650th career placement. Dan has won more than twenty awards from Top Echelon Network, America’s leading placement network, including Placer of the Year in 2009 and the prestigious Million Dollar Award. He is also a member of the National Association of Personnel Services. Dan has been a recruiter in the animal feed industry since 2002.
Dan is a student of the recruiting industry, as well as a speaker/trainer, both in-person and online, for various industry webinars. He has been a featured speaker at the Top Echelon National Convention. Dan has also been a guest speaker providing insight into career management at universities and trade associations. These include the Reciprocal Meat Conference for the American Meat Science Association in 2008 and 2009, the Washington DC Chapter of ARPAS (American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists) in 2008, and the Animal Science Departments of both Penn State University and the University of Delaware.