Why looking for a career you are passionate about is dangerous territory!

By leahlambart
9 June 2017

“I need help finding something I am passionate about” is one of the most common reasons that people come to see me for career counselling. Passion is a strong word, defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as “an extreme interest or wish for doing something”.

The first problem…

The problem is that many people simply aren’t ‘passionate’ about anything in particular. They may like lots of activities and have many interests but they don’t feel passionate about any of them, and that is perfectly okay. We don’t all have to have passions and we certainly don’t all have to work in jobs that we are passionate about. Even those people who have found a job they are passionate about will admit that it isn’t all beer and skittles. There are always going to be tasks to be completed that they don’t particularly like, the same as everyone else.

So if you have reached forty and still haven’t found your passion, it is highly unlikely that a 90-minute session with a career counsellor is going to give you that lightbulb moment. What a career counsellor can do is help you explore your skills, personality and interests and help you determine what career options might be the best fit but don’t rely on them to find you your ‘passion’.

The second problem…

The second problem I have with ”finding a career you are passionate about” is that our interests change over time and you may not necessarily stay passionate about something for your entire career. Take the mechanic I saw last week who chose his career as a teenager because of his love for fast cars. Well at the age of thirty his interest in cars has long since passed and he feels stuck in a career that he doesn’t really enjoy. As we age our passions and interests change, so why not find a career that you simply enjoy and do what you are passionate outside of your work. It is much easier to give up a hobby than change career.

The biggest issue…..

However, the biggest issue I have with the ‘find me my passion’ request is that many people already know what their passion is – whether it is creative writing, photography, fashion or cooking. They know what their passion is but they are simply ignoring it.

Why people ignore their passions?

The reason they are ignoring it is because of two things; productivity and assumptions.   The first reason is productivity. They are not willing to put the hard work in to really give it a go. It is easier to make excuses about why it wouldn’t work out.

The second reason is because of the assumptions they have made about following their passion. Assumptions are one of the main reasons that stop people from moving forward and following their dream. Assumptions such as: “ I won’t earn enough money”, “I’m not good enough” or “I won’t get full-time work”.

Well, how do you know until you put in the hard work, get out and talk to people and give it a try?




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