How do you know if you have made the right choice in an ever-changing career marketplace? Is there such a thing as Job Security? Does one necessarily have to suppress passion in a trade-off for job security? These are a few existential questions that keep working professionals awake at night.
The Wall Street Journal injects creativity and passion into this discussion:
“Job security is extremely hard to come by these days, no matter what profession you choose. It isn’t enough to pursue a field with perceived stability, experts say. Find something you feel passionate about, can make a living doing, and that involves skills you can easily apply to other fields.”
Professor Steve Rose (Addiction Counsellor) defines following passion as “exploring areas that spark your interest, developing your skills in a specific area, and using those skills to contribute to something beyond yourself.” In his book Drive, Daniel H. Pink argues that career satisfaction comes from a sense of mastery, autonomy, and purpose. So contrary to popular belief, career and passion can go hand in hand.
Passion does not work in binary, which means it is not confined to the black and white description of ‘passionate’ and ‘not passionate.’ Passion can constantly be developed, cultivated, and followed ruthlessly. In fact, confining passion into this black and white binary makes people wary of exploring newer ideas and tapping into their potential. People also tend to give up on their endeavors more quickly when things start getting complicated.
When speaking of ‘Passion’ and ‘Job,’ both are often divorced from each other. Often passion is considered to be something that is inside of us waiting to be uncovered and unleashed. The common consensus seems to be that this ‘uncovering’ could be triggered by stimulus from outside. When in fact, feeling passionate about something is directly related to doing great work and putting in that effort.
We are here at your service with some actionable tips to follow your passion. Read till the end to know the Limits of Passion.
The first step is to identify your passion. It is easier said than done as there is no strict rule/formula that will help you conclude. The only way out in this case is through trying!
You can begin by simple self-assessment exercises and asking yourself questions like what would you do if given complete freedom? What would your career choices be if money and time were no bar?
Notice the interest that you find yourself coming back to again and again. Start narrowing down your interests even vaguely, which could be a field of study, an activity that you like doing, or even a project that you want to work on. If you cannot find answers yourself, ask for help from a career counselor.
➔ The Care Test: In reality, passion is likely to fizzle out over time. While pursuing your endeavors, you are more likely to stick with the one which orients with your value system and helps you in creating the impact you want. Therefore, while pursuing your passion, it is crucial to focus more on what you care about instead of what gives you the most joy or whatever sounds more fun because pleasure, in most cases, is momentary.
#2 Polish Your Skills/Gain Knowledge
Once you have narrowed down your interest areas and done the preliminary research, it is time to hone your skills. You can sign up for courses in your area of interest. This way you will meet more people who share similar interests, you will get enough space to practice your knowledge/skill and get valuable feedback.
It is also essential to remain updated with the happenings in your field of interest. So be curious and expose yourself to as much information as you can.
We recommend Coursera; it has very well-structured courses, especially on Social Sciences.
➔ For Example: If you are an IT professional who wants to make a switch to working with Civil Society Organizations because you feel passionate about social issues, here is what you can do.
You begin by doing preliminary research and narrowing your area of interest further down to, say, the Criminal Justice System. You can then start by taking classes to understand the basics of The Criminal Justice System, for example, learning about theories of punishments, etc.
If that interests you further, you can form peer groups to discuss your learnings, employment opportunities, and further readings.
#3 Put Yourself Out There
Marketing your skillset or offering your services will help you test your knowledge of the said field and gain some social capital. It will also assist you in assessing the profitability of your passion endeavor. This way, you can use your passion to generate passive income by freelancing.
If you are a law student whose passion is graphic designing and feels that it is their true calling, you can start freelancing as a graphic designer and take up commissioned work. It will help you build your portfolio as a graphic designer simultaneously; you will also learn the ways of the trade.
To learn more on Freelancing to Generate Passive Income, Click Here.
#4 Learn Time Management Skills
If you are a working professional trying to juggle your passion project with a full-time job, learning the skill of time management becomes quintessential. It might seem a daunting task to manage time, but if you look closely, you will find some ‘hidden time’ in between meetings while sitting in a cab on your way back home or just mindlessly scrolling through social media. It is this in-between time that you can utilize to your benefit. You can start by observing yourself to see where most of your time goes and uncover hidden gaps. To learn time management skills, Click Here.
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#5 Don’t Be Impulsive
The very act of following your passion is an emotional one. It makes you want to act on your feet and do as much as possible in whatever time you have. Having your head on your shoulders during such an emotionally charged situation is the best you can do to avoid any major blunders. Therefore, self-assessment is of quintessential importance.
You should neither expect significant changes overnight nor should you make impulsive decisions. Following your passion requires you to leave your job? Okay. But first, access and analyze if you have enough savings to fall back on. Suppose your passion project is well-paying and can keep you afloat financially.
➔ The famous comedian Rahul Subramanian recounted when he was toying with the idea of leaving his job before pursuing comedy full time in a podcast with Kumar Varun. Rahul says that he had decided that when comedy starts paying 60% of what he earned working a full-time job, he will quit. Of course, this is the kind of planned decision you want to take when it comes to quitting your job or even investing in your passion project.
Assessment, as we have mentioned earlier, is the key.
#6 Find a Mentor
Imagine this scenario. You have just started working on your passion project. Let us define the project first; you are trying to create an NGO which works on increasing access to education amongst the students of the slum areas of Uttarakhand.
You will be required to have an in-depth knowledge of the demographics of that area, an understanding of how students and their parents respond when reached out to, some legal expertise on getting your NGO registered, etc.
Now, you can only research and prepare as much; what you will need at this point is someone who has done it all – a mentor who can guide you through. In this case, someone who has worked with the Civil Society Organization has had a successful run as a social worker and can help you sail through your journey as a social worker.
A mentor can help you network, maintain accountability, help you with goal setting, and most importantly, tell you what not to do and avoid mistakes.
#7 Have a Backup Plan
We have established, with research-based evidence, that passion is prone to fizzling out over time. So, what happens then? When you feel worn out or start feeling that maybe that a particular vocation is not for you?
This is where having a backup plan will help. Here is what you can do
➔ You will have to keep an eye out for openings that suit your previous work portfolio. You want to keep updating your resume; it could be a course you have enrolled in or a part-time job that you did; keep adding it to your resume.
➔ Save. Financial stability when you are in the middle of switching jobs helps a ton with mental peace. Not worrying about your finances gives a sense of liberty, and you will be able to follow your passion without worrying about your finances.
Congratulations! You have successfully read the seven tips that will take you towards finding your passion and creating a beautiful life with it!
You have earned yourself a helpful bonus tip!
#Bonus Tip: Limits of Passion
Passion fueling your desire to accomplish your goal and propelling you to success is the ideal case scenario. But it is crucial to understand the limits of passion. There will be times when just being passionate won’t help you achieve your goals and are counterproductive.
A study conducted at Columbia Business School found that the more passionate the person, the higher is the probability of them being overconfident which can be detrimental to the overall growth of the person. In addition, in the study, passionate people were more uptight, less likely to be open to criticism, or even receive feedback.
Apart from being passionate, success will come with self-awareness. You cannot have an inflated view of your abilities to work. Keeping in touch with reality and having your head on your shoulders is very important for success. The mind descends into delusion and starts believing that your passion is taking you places when the group reality is far from it.
Passion is to be seen as a means to an end and not the end itself. Yes, it propels you into taking action, but there are other variables like hard work, consistency, sincerity that come into play to make you reach your goal.
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