So How Do You Find Your Passion?

“We’re looking for people who are passionate about (fill in the blank)”.

Look at the job postings employers are circulating these days and you may see a line something like the one above. If not, there will likely be some reference to seeking people who are enthusiastic, driven or excited about delivering a service, making or selling products and interacting with people. It only makes sense when you consider that the company doing the hiring wants people who genuinely care about the products and services they themselves are, as well as in how that company delivers them to the end-users.

Now on the other hand, there are a throng of job seekers out there who ideally would love to find work they have some passion for, but the reality is many haven’t had enough exposure to a variety of jobs and experiences, so the passion hasn’t been ignited yet. In the meantime; the here and now, those unemployed people need income and so they’re out there looking for work – any work – without the focus that passion brings.

This situations results in employers being less than satisfied with all the people applying for jobs as they have to decipher who is sincerely passionate about the work to be done, and those paying lip service to the job ad in order to ‘just get a job’. The job seeker is left in a moral dilemma too; if they are completely honest they’d say they don’t have a yearning and passion for all the jobs they are applying to, but on the other hand they feel competent and qualified in all other respects so they want a chance to do what the job calls for. That kind of frankness however doesn’t sound like the kind of thing to share in an interview when your bank account is in the red and the landlord is posting, ‘rent overdue’ signs on your door.

So how to find your personal passion? One way of course is when you are personally impacted and affected by circumstances in your life. If you’ve gone through a divorce that was messy and you lacked the benefit of a divorce lawyer with any kind of compassion, you might be determined to get the education and become the person for others you had hoped to have had yourself but didn’t. If you almost lost a loved one to a heart attack and a First Responder performed CPR and brought them back, you could be so profoundly impacted and impressed that you decide to pursue a career doing the same for others.

Another way to find your passion is wanting to be associated with and part of an organization you admire. For example you might be a fan of the Montreal Canadiens like I am although you’ll never have the skills required to be a hockey player, you could use your sales skills to sell tickets, accounting skills to work in administration or your computer skills with their website design and updates. You could turn your respect and admiration for a business that turned a seedy neighbourhood into a respectable part of town by becoming associated with that business and then working for them.

Then there’s the people who find passion by sheer chance brought about by doing a variety of things. In other words, when your 20, have worked with a single employer while in school or are 50 and you’ve only worked for two employers your entire life, you may not have enough exposure to have really found something that ignites that passion. If on the other hand, you’re about to turn 30 and you’ve worked in fashion retail, factories, a child care centre and volunteered with an animal shelter, you may have found among these experiences one that brings you satisfaction; one that at the end of the day you really feel good about having made a difference. Could that be your passion calling?

Passion has to be cultivated and nurtured in order for it to grow. You can have for example an interest in cars and assume you would like to be on pit row in some professional racing circuit, but you might find the actual experience of learning in a classroom long before you get under the hood of a car is not what you thought it would be at all.

Unfortunately some people never find their passion or they don’t recognize it for what it is when it does come along. These people will tell you passion is over-rated and only for the select few who can afford the time to figure it out. They’ll say that the best you can hope for is a decent paying job that pays the bills where you just try to get through the day. Not to diminish what they feel, but I certainly don’t feel that way.

Me? I’ve been self-employed, sold shoes and clothing, worked with youth in recreation centres, supervised care providers, assisted those on social assistance receive their income, worked in a summer residential camp, and I do community theatre acting. All of these experiences introduced me to various people and their work.

It was while working in one job as a Social Services Caseworker that I became introduced to the Employment Counsellor role. I knew immediately this was for me. I’d found that helping others to find meaningful employment was what spurred my passion.

All the best in finding yours.