Passion or Purpose: Things You Should Consider When Weighing Career Choices

People discussing career advice

What is the reason people get a job? To earn a living, of course.

For some, it is about self-actualization or finding their passion in life.

You need not choose between one or the other. Yes, you can find your passion and earn a living from it at the same time.

A career can be a fulfilling and financially rewarding endeavor, if you know who you are, what you want and need, and how you want to spend your time on earth.

In the US today, surveys show that at least 50% of workers are unhappy or unsatisfied with their job.  For the Millennials, the surveys indicate that one in three young workers or professionals are even willing to take pay-cuts in exchange for working on what they love or are passionate about.

The average person will spend 70 to 80% of their life working on a job or being engaged in a profession.  In this day and age, working is literally how we spend our lives.  The only exception would be the ultra privileged children of billionaires who never have to work a single day. But even these fortunate billionaire kids and their financially successful parents ponder about meaning, purpose, and passion in life just like the rest of us. We’re all human beings at the end of the day.

Psychologists, life coaches, and financial advisers all seem to agree when they say that money may provide a form of security but it does not bring complete and lasting happiness and fulfillment.

Tennis legend Andre Agassi admitted in his autobiography that, “…he played tennis for a living even though he hated tennis.” Even with all the fame and fortune he earned on the court, he became sad and, at one point, resorted to taking illegal drugs just to numb himself from his unfulfilling way of life. Former Olympic cycling champion Chris Boardman also once admitted to hating cycling even if he loved winning races.  Cricket idol Vic Marks even once said that he wished “it would rain” so that he and his fellow athletes wouldn’t have to play the sport.

So, what can one do to make better career or job choices in life?

The first logical step is to know who you are and define what you want in life.  Simple thing to say or write, but very hard to do, indeed. However, it must be done if you want to spare yourself the agony of waking up one day in your life’s later stages realizing you spent most of it doing things you didn’t like or even enjoy.

Engaging in an open self-assessment can be very useful.  You can use online assessment tools or get career counseling to help yourself understand your particular interests, skills, talents, or gifts.  For example, are you passionate about working with people or find enjoyment in working alone with gadgets or technology? Do you enjoy the outdoors or the comforts of an office?  Do you like working with your hands or find more fun in leading others to accomplish a task?  The answers will help you focus on a particular career or job that would allow you to pursue what you want.

The next step is to list career opportunities or industries that are aligned with your interests and abilities.  If you’re passionate about writing, don’t look for a job in the construction industry. Learn more about writing and look for opportunities in publishing. If you find joy in speaking to crowds of people, you might want to get training and seek opportunities in the academe, in the training field, or perhaps become a motivational speaker. You might even want to pursue a career as a counselor or pastor who regularly interacts with individuals or groups of people. The possibilities are endless, so explore with a lot of curiosity, but make sure to stay true to your interests and likings.

Interview people who are good in their field and learn from their experience. This is also a good way to learn more about different industries, and how people entered and have succeeded in their chosen profession. If you have time to build a mentor-mentee relationship, do so. You won’t regret it.

Write a Career Plan.  Once you get your bearings and more or less know what you want to do and where you want to go, write a Career Plan. This is a plan to set a timeline and list the specific steps you must make to reach your career goals. It might include specific job titles or positions you want to earn, projects you need to propose, or additional courses you need to take to improve your career standing for future promotion, as well as financial opportunities by way of pay raise. Some even list down particular companies or industries they want to be involved in over the span of their working life. For those that just want to work in a specific industry, submitting your resume to an industry-specific recruitment agency can do the trick.

The final step is to decide with confidence and work with the end-goal in mind.  Maintaining and growing a career takes a lot of work and involves taking risks.  But if you have the end-goal in mind, your vision always clear in your mind — then you can hurdle all the challenges along the way.

Remember, it need not be a choice between purpose or passion. You need not give up financial success to do what you have always dreamed of.  You can choose a career that will satisfy your passions and fill your wallet, as well. It only takes an honest self-assessment, careful planning, and bold action to build a life and career that will make you mentally, emotionally, and financially secure.

Weigh your options, choose carefully, and live life to the max.

Exclusively submitted to Alvernoalpha
By The Career Mom