How to find a job you're passionate about
Millennials get a bad rap for expecting a lot from their career but is it that surprising when we’re constantly telling people to follow their passion, reach for the stars and do what they love? It may seem like inspirational advice but how constructive is it in reality? What if my only passion is drinking tea and watching obscure period dramas?
There are certain steps you can take to help you find a job you’re passionate about that also pays the bills.
Determine your priorities
What drives you? Is it crucial to your happiness that you earn a certain salary, work in a particular industry, are making positive change or have the freedom to pursue your own interests when you clock out? Nobody can decide your priorities for you and while plenty may try to offer you advice, you’re ultimately accountable for your own happiness. Once you establish what your priorities are, you’ll be better placed to find a job that aligns with them. Try to think beyond your short term goals and look to what you want both personally and professionally down the line.
Assess your skills
Don’t just look to what you’re directly qualified in but consider what you’re good at and enjoy. More importantly, think about what you’re not good at and what you don’t enjoy. Recognise that your strengths can evolve and change over time and that your potential to upskill in a certain area is likely more important than what you’ve already achieved in it. This will become more prevalent as we move towards greater tech integration and a continuous cycle of retraining is required.
Build up professional contacts who can give you a greater insight into different career paths and sectors. Use networking events, meetups and conferences to connect with people in industries you’re interested in. Not only is this a good way to meet potential employers and get a sense of what it’s like to work in certain roles, it also builds your confidence and communication skills. In addition, these events can help you discover new developments in certain industries and connect with people who may be able to offer you career advice and mentorship.
Research the culture
When times are tough at work, we rely heavily on the team around us to offer support, advice and even tough love. This team is bonded (or at least it should be) by a common goal, a belief in the mission of the company and a motivation to make it succeed. If you feel that certain elements of the culture are not to your taste it might be an indication that it’s not a good fit for you and you may struggle to succeed in the working environment.
Consider an internship
Not everyone will be in the position where they are free to take a low paid internship but gaining work experience in a certain area, even part-time, can be invaluable in getting a sense of what a role will be like. Immersing yourself in a role is the best way to figure out if you enjoy it. If you do have the opportunity to do an internship, make sure you use it to its full potential. Ask lots of questions, talk to as many people as you can and be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. so that you may reach out in the future if an opportunity arises.
Even the most rewarding jobs have their ups and downs. While you certainly shouldn’t stay in a job where you’re unhappy, it’s important to recognise the difference between a bad job and a bad spell in a job. Difficult work weeks don’t necessarily equate to a lack of passion in your job. It’s ok to find certain elements of work frustrating or unfulfilling, once you can also identify elements that you enjoy, that challenge and engage you.