My co-worker Ruth said these words to me as we parted from a normal everyday exchange earlier this week, but these words have just resinated with me – “Don’t work hard – work with passion”. I guess a big part of the reason why is because this is my ultimate career goal – to find something that not only pays my bills, but is my passion.
I don’t know if you’re like me, but it’s hard to find people who are passionate and can find joy in what they do for a living. Thankfully I have seen that passion and joy this summer, but only for a total of three times. The first two were women working in a fast food chain who wiped down tables and offered to get whatever you needed with so much joy, energy and passion, that both times I contacted their managers to sing their praises. The last I saw last night in a friend’s BodyJam class. She just became and instructor and this was my first time to make it to her class and she was motivating, engaging and passionate about her love for what she was teaching on stage. Once the tears started to role down my face at the end of class because I was so proud of her, I realized I wasn’t only proud of her accomplishment, but I was happy she found a job she was passionate about and it showed. 😉
My personal career progression has gone from ambition and the pursuit of the almighty dollar to doing what I like to do and doing it well. See, in my 20’s I was about finishing my degree and then moving on to get my masters. Career wise I was about moving up from HR Assistant, to HR Manager to ultimately HR VP. I managed to get all that done by the time I was 26, but I was exhausted and felt that my friends were getting to stop and smell the roses more that I was. Although my pursuit was everything I thought I wanted, I realized that once I achieved my goals, I was left feeling empty, over worked and unfulfilled.
I thought maybe it was because I needed a change of scenery, so I left one city and moved to the neighboring city one day, with no job prospects, but the desire to change my situation. (Don’t get me wrong, I was prepared financially to support myself for at least 3 months so it wasn’t really that much of a whim, but I was taking a chance .)
Once I arrived, I gave myself a month to bum around and really decide what it was that I wanted to do. Once I was able to reflect, I realized that the career I had built for the past 6 years in HR was not what I wanted to pursue anymore. I wanted to teach. That was the area that was filled with the most rewarding memories for me. See while I was busy building my HR career, I still found time to teach an ESL class at my neighborhood library and the people who attended class were so giving, open and willing to learn everything I had to share. It was amazing! This is why I decided to reach out to the local ISD to see if they had any ESL courses they needed instructors for. Thankfully they did and I taught there for 2 months before I found another full-time position and continued to teach there until my work demands grew too big to allow me to have this 2nd job.
The position I found was another management position, but it wasn’t in HR, which made me think that maybe this would be where my passion lied, but it didn’t. While it did open me up to different areas, I realized that managing people was not a fun spot for me to be either.
What it did do however, was open me back up to training and instructional design (which is teaching in the corporate world), which helped land me in my current position – designing online training in the corporate environment. While I’m not quite sure this is where my true passion lies, I feel like I’m closer to it than I was in my 20’s because thanks to my full-time career, my part-time gig as an Adjunct Faculty member at a local community college and my blog, I no longer feel empty, over worked and unfulfilled.
Are you working with passion now? If money were no object, what would you be passionately working on?