Finding Your Passion

How Important Is It to Choose a Career You Love?

Find Your Passion
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The first time clients come to me for help with their career development issues I always ask them how they feel about their current occupations. Do they like what they do? Are they happy with their careers or do they need to make changes? Some tell me they think they should change careers because they just don't feel passionate about their work. This leads to my asking them if they like what they do.

"Yes!" many of them reply before they sigh wistfully and say "but I don't love it." Do you have to love your career? Isn't it okay if you just like it?

What Does Finding Your Passion Mean?

Many authors have written books and articles that stress the importance of finding your passion when you choose a career. Some career experts say your work must be meaningful. You won't be satisfied if it isn't. They say it should inspire you. It has to be your calling. I am not surprised some of my clients don't think it's good enough to like what they do. They've heard repeatedly they must be head-over-heels in love with their careers.

What my clients fail to realize is that we don't all find the same things meaningful. Not everyone has a calling or defines it in the same way. What I consider a calling may not be what you do. You may want a career that involves saving lives or using your artistic talents.

Most people would say those are callings. Your best friend may enjoy assembling widgets. Many people would not refer to that as a calling. It's hard to imagine someone feeling passionate about it, but that really shouldn't matter. It is certainly an important job to the people out there who need those widgets.

 What matters most is coming home at the end of the day satisfied that you did a good job. Work you find satisfying doesn't have to be what someone else would consider significant or meaningful.

What Is More Important Than Passion?

I say you should stop worrying about trying to find your passion. If you happen to come upon a career that allows you to do work about which you are passionate, that's great. Stop beating yourself up about it if you don't or you will never feel satisfied with your career choice. You can have a very successful career that involves doing work you enjoy—not necessarily love—but at least like.

The key to achieving career satisfaction is to make sure you choose an occupation that is suitable for you. Make sure it is a good fit for your personality type, interests and values. You should have an aptitude—a talent or natural ability—for it. You need proper training that will allow you to do your job well. Having certain soft skills will let you succeed in your career. These are personal qualities you are either born with or acquire through life experiences.

Remember that even when an occupation is a good fit for you, if you don't enjoy most of the day-to-day activities, you won't enjoy your work.

Don't expect to like every single task for which you are responsible. Chances are you won't. Nobody does. If you dislike doing something that is only a small part of your job or something you have to do only infrequently, you will be okay.  Do your homework before you choose an occupation to find out if it is a good match for you. Remember, there's more to career satisfaction than finding your passion.

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