You have probably heard the saying, "if you love what you do you'll never work a day in your life." It usually goes hand-in-hand with the directive to "find your passion." Will you be doomed to a lifetime of unhappiness at work if you don't take this advice?
What Does It Mean to Find Your Passion?
Many people, some of them career experts, believe that for a career to be satisfying, it must be meaningful. That is why they admonish recipients of their advice to find their passion—something about which they care very deeply—and choose a career that takes advantage of that.
The directive to find your passion puts a lot of stress on individuals who either may not feel all that passionate about anything work-related, or who believe the things they think of as meaningful are mundane compared to passions like saving lives, creating art, or making the world a better place.
Perhaps passion is too strong a word to describe what inspires you to choose a particular career. It conjures up feelings so intense that you may equate them with being in love. And that's a pretty tall order when it comes to choosing a career.
Does That Mean You Don't Have to Find a Meaningful Career?
Even if there isn't anything about which care deeply enough to label it a passion or what you feel is meaningful doesn't warrant such strong language to describe it, you should still look for work about which you feel enthusiastic. Perhaps it is even more essential to enjoy your work than it is to be passionate about it. After all, you will spend a lot of time at your job.
When you think about it, all work is meaningful in its own way. Let's look at all the employees in a hospital for example. Sure it's the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers who save lives, but the facility would cease to function without maintenance workers who keep it clean. Yet few people would say they are passionate about doing custodial work, but there are those who get satisfaction from that type of job.
We don't all find the same things meaningful. Not everyone has a calling or defines it in the same way. You may want a career that involves saving lives or using your artistic talents. Most people would say those are callings. Your best friend may enjoy assembling widgets. Many people would not refer to that as a calling, but that really shouldn't matter. To the people out there who need those widgets, that is an essential work.
What Is More Important Than Passion?
Stop worrying about trying to find your passion. If you happen to come upon a career that allows you to do work about which you are passionate, that's great. Stop beating yourself up about it if you don't. You can have a very successful career that involves doing work you enjoy—not necessarily love—but at least like.
The key to achieving career satisfaction is to make sure to choose an occupation that is suitable for you. Make sure it is a good fit for your personality type, interests, and values. You need an aptitude—a talent or natural ability—for it. Getting proper training, either in a classroom or on-the-job, is vital. Having specific soft skills, which are personal qualities you are either born with or acquire through life experiences, will allow you to succeed in your career.
Remember that even if an occupation is a good fit for you—whether or not you find your passion—you must like most of your day-to-day activities or you won't enjoy your work. If you expect every single task to be delightful, you are setting yourself up to be disappointed. But, if you dislike doing something that is just a small part of your job, there's an excellent chance you will have career satisfaction. Do your homework before you choose an occupation to find out if it is a good match for you. There's more to career satisfaction than finding your passion.