When Following Your Passion is a Bad Idea

We hear over and over to “follow our passion” when it comes to careers. But this may not be a good idea. After all, our skills and natural abilities must align with our passion in order to be successful within it. For example, if we have no sense of rhythm but still love to dance, do we really think competing on – let alone winning – So You Think You Can Dance? is a viable possibility?

City of Orange careers

In addition, think about the times you’re doing whatever it is that really floats your boat. Often it’s every now and then for a few hours a time. What if you had to do it eight hours a day, five days a week? Then it becomes work and work is something we must do about 40 hours a week, whether we’re “in the mood” for it or not.

Plus, no matter how great a career or job is, there’s always something about it that is tedious. Take, for example, the woman we know who is a physical therapist. She loves working with her patients. But then – oh, then! – there’s the paperwork. About one hour of paperwork for each patient. She generally sees four patients a day and then needs to get four hours of paperwork done. And she hates the paperwork. HATES IT!!! And yet the paperwork (patient notes and insurance forms) takes up half or her work day. Is this a career/job she enjoys? Is it worth it to love – or at least really like — what she does half the time when the other half is absolute tedium?

What we love changes over time.

This, unfortunately, is far too true: we as humans are really, really, really bad at predicting now what will make us happy in the future. If you’re 21 chances are the thought of sitting at home reading a book or watching Amazon on a Saturday night sounds like the last thing you want to do (FOMO and all). But – and it’s hard to believe, we know – by the time you’re in your mid-30s or so, going to a club on a Saturday is all “been there, done that.”

In your 20s , 30s and even 40s, all you can think about is getting to the top of your career. But as you age, that desire fades. Big time. So much so that puttering around in the garage or hanging around the soccer field watching your kid play community soccer is your idea of a great time! And this holds true for both women and men. So working 80 hours a week to build a business probably isn’t going to be all that enjoyable once you hit 40 and beyond.

Making a contribution/a difference leads to the most career satisfaction.

Studies show that the key to happiness for humans in relationships/connections. What’s more, a feeling of mastery and a feeling of purpose/meaning – of contributing to something greater than ourselves – is truly what makes for satisfaction at work.

In other words, find the things at which you’re good (bonus: you probably enjoy doing them) and figure out what type of career/job involves using those skills. Using the physical therapist example above, she always loved working with people, she’s always enjoyed learning how the human body “works,” she’s interested in fitness and health, and she enjoys making her patients’ lives better.  The  loathsome paperwork? It’s a real bear. But she figures half a day of happy and meaningful work makes up for the other half. Overall she’s quite happy.

What are you good at? Take your skills and make a real contribution to businesses throughout Orange County and Los Angeles. Look at the opportunities we currently have open here at Helpmates and contact us/apply if one or more look interesting. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

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