Take a quick trip to Dr. Google and type in “find your passion.” You’ll uncover thousands of articles on how to find a job you’re passionate about. It’s a hot topic for the millennial generation, and I often wonder why.
Every day, I’m hit over the head with the need to find a career that makes me want to jump out of bed.
This isn’t something my parents instilled in me or they even mentioned. My parents were great at their jobs, but their jobs were hard. They were practical and provided a lot of value – stability for our family, health insurance, mobility, and so on. But no one talked about passion. Regardless, I can’t turn a corner without hearing the word passion.
It’s not that I dislike my job. But conference calls, rush hour traffic, client crises or planning meetings don’t make me excited to get out of bed.
Something I don’t hear as often in popular culture is conversations about values. But anyone who knows me well, knows how important values are to me. I know what mine are, and I stand by them no matter what. I’ve learned that this is where the true magic lies in finding a job that lights you up.
One of my favorite phrases is we are human beings, not human doings. Yet, we don’t skip a beat asking someone what they do right after we meet them – like it’s the only part of their identity that matters. “Nice to meet you. What do you do?” “Oh, I work at a PR agency. What about you?”
If someone asks what’s important to you, what excites you or how do you see the world, you wouldn’t say, “public relations.”
I value: innovation (I love to try new things; I always challenge the status quo), excellence (I like to be the best) and helping others succeed (especially the underdog). In my career, this translates perfectly. In a nutshell, I help businesses grow through inventive and creative campaigns. And even better, they’re usually businesses that I believe in and personally support.
So, do I love seeing others achieve success from my ideas and my execution? Absolutely. Do I like conference calls? No, usually not. But, am I on a conference call almost daily? Yes.
And that’s where the breakdown is. So many of my peers are unhappy at work, and sometimes I am, too. I think we get lost in the doldrums of life, especially at this pivotal point in a career when we’re building and growing. We’re all working so hard to make something of ourselves.
I don’t have all the answers, but I can tell you a few things I’ve learned and share a few opinions. I think it’s misleading to tell people that to be happy, they need to find a job they’re passionate about. Passion is a big word – how many things would you say you’re truly passionate about? It’s a lot of pressure, and for a lot of us, it’s unrealistic. Instead, I think we need to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. Ask what’s important and find a job that aligns with who we are as human beings.
What works for me to stay on track is re-focusing often. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture – that I’m not just living in rush hour traffic. That there’s a purpose to it all. I think about the good I’m bringing to the world and the good I’m bringing about for myself. Look for that in your job, or find it at your next, and I promise you’ll be a lot happier no matter where you clock in and out.