I Don’t Know What Career I Want: Finding a Passion

(3.9 minute read)

My boyfriend graduated college recently, and every now and then I get a somewhat frantic FaceTime call and he bemoans the fact that he doesn’t have a passion. He says, “I don’t have a passion for any career, so I don’t know what career to choose. I can’t just decide what I’m doing with the rest of my life if I’m not really enthusiastic about anything. What if I get stuck with something I hate?” My younger sister also spent about an hour ranting about the same dilemma last night while packing to leave for college for the first time. Then, I saw this tweet from Lorna Scully

How do you work out what you want to do for the rest of your life when you’re not sure if you’ve found a passion yet #genuinequestion

And now, here we are. I shall unlock the secrets of finding a career you’re passionate about (well, I’ll try).

When you say you don’t have a passion, what you really mean is, you don’t have a passion yet. Given that you don’t have a passion yet, and would like to have one, the next step seems to be finding a passion. How do you find a passion? You try new things! Take risks. Look for opportunities. Literally, apply for everything you’re remotely interested in; that way, at the end of the day you’ll have a lot of options, and you can just pick the best one. Then comes the hardest part. Close your eyes, and jump.

By using this process, I started out in retail, then studied business. Next, I dabbled in interior design, but decided to study liberal arts instead. Then I saw an opportunity to live on a ranch for a summer and take care of everything from horses to bison, and did that. Now, I’ve ended up with a niche marketing job that I’m pretty excited about, and I’m not even 25 yet! The lesson here is, the sooner you do jobs that you don’t like, the sooner you’ll find the job that you do.

Also, you don’t need to choose the thing that you’ll spend the next 60 years of your life doing right now. Honestly, whatever you’re doing right now, you probably won’t be doing even five years from now. Just like in other areas of life, it’s helpful to stay focused on the present when you’re thinking about your career.

I would also like to present the viewpoint, which I’m inclined toward, that your career doesn’t need to be your passion. I’m not suggesting that you devote your precious hours to a job that drives you up the wall… but instead, perhaps, slightly lower your expectations. These are my personal criteria for a job:

  1. Must be tolerable
  2. Must inspire (at least) occasional enthusiasm
  3. Must not cause me to hate something I loved as a hobby
  4. Must open doors to other opportunities

If you have a crazy career path, please share it below and give young people like myself a little hope for the future :)

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