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Finding Your Passion before Your Paycheck?

Picture of Faith Chukwuka

Faith Chukwuka

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Many of us have found ourselves in a situation where we woke up, got dressed, went to work and counted down the hours until we could leave in our heads. For some, it was due to the work environment not being conducive to a positive outlook. However, for others, it was because they were doing a job for which they have no “passion”. Feeling like prisoners, they no longer had any interest in being there, but it paid the bills.

Unfortunately, there are long-term side effects of forcing yourself to mentally and physically show up for a job that brings you no joy. It eventually degrades your mental health.

It is not always beneficial to your health to have a job. A low-quality job will affect your health negatively.

You have heard a time or two to follow your passion, I say, find you “why”.

Following this vein the saying, “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” is often quoted to job hunters. However, discovering a passion, or tuning that passion into a career is not as simple as many would make it seem.

Not everyone finds that thing that, appears obvious and meaningful and world-changing, thus they don’t see it as their passion. The word passion invokes images of intense feelings, devotion and even love. Some people may never recognize these feelings in the work they do. They may be good at something that doesn’t stress them or cause them discomfort as they pursue it.

In this instance, you shouldn’t be discouraged from engaging in that task, to wait to feel the passion. The reason; is because we all do not process feelings and interest the same way. Thus, it might be meaningful to you, but you don’t get butterflies or any other emotion except contentment.

Finding your passion is difficult; I am so passionate about several things, which am I to choose? Which subject am I more passionate about? This type of self-analysis is stressful; there are other questions you can ask that are easier for you to answer. What am I good at doing? Am I better at English or math? It is easier for you to answer these questions.

Passion, like life, is ever-changing! What you are passionate today might be far different from what you were passionate about at age eight. If you shape your education and career solely on passion, later you may find yourself no longer passionate about what you do and having to retrain, change industries or face a sense of unhappiness and confinement.

If you “find yourself constantly lacking motivation, or find what you’re doing dull and repetitive, you need to start looking for a new job.” (Babauta) Staying in a job like that will leave you feeling unhappy, and you will not live up to your potential.

Having a passion for something doesn’t mean that you are good at it. You should be good at what you choose to do for a career so you can excel at it. You have probably watched American Idol or the Voice and seen tons of people whose passion is singing but aren’t good at it. Just because you love something, doesn’t mean you’ll be good at it or you should make it your career.

Not being passionate about what you do isn’t the worse thing; Are you interested in it? Does it bring you joy? Are you contented? These are other things that you can ask yourself to gauge how suited your job is for you.

If you “find yourself constantly lacking motivation, or find what you’re doing dull and repetitive, you need to start looking for a new job.” (Babauta) Staying in a job like that will leave you feeling unhappy, and you will not live up to your potential.

You don’t have to be passionate about what you are good at; if you find satisfaction in it, then it is just as valuable as any other job you could do. Someone who does waste management for a living may not be passionate about it. However, it may add value, be necessary and contribute to health and community wellbeing. Contentment is what leads to job satisfaction. It is the “why”, and it is equally as fulfilling to the individual as persons who pursue passions.

These people are the ones who do what (Horowitz) describes, “Find the thing that you’re great at, put that into the world, contribute to others, help the world be better and that is the thing to follow.”

On the other hand, some live a different path that is all about passion. These people wake up and jump out of bed, excited to get to work.  It becomes easy to put in extra hours because the time flies by before they know it. 

Believe it or not, they too can face challenges; theirs is more hinged on work-life balance. They can potentially be so passionate about their job, almost to the point of obsession that their work-life balance suffers because they spend endless hours working. They are in a frame of mind where everything flows; resulting in losing track of time. What happens is, “obsessive passion produces conflict between work and other life activities because the person cannot let go of the work activity.” (Vallerand et al.)

Passion, as you have read, is fleeting. Knowing why you want to do something, or why you do it is steadier, practical and can be more beneficial to your mental, physical and financial wellbeing in the long run. There has to be a balance in life, you may be passionate about something and have been able to make a living out of it, or you might be someone who feels good about doing what you do or pursuing what you want to do. Your “why” is passion rationalized. While being passionate is all the hype, you should try to find your “why” before finding your paycheck.

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