Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Turn Your Passion into a Career

Have you ever had a job where time literally flew by, where you loved going to work every day, where you felt happy and fulfilled at the end of most days? Often times, this situation occurs when we are doing something that we are passionate about. I always tell people that we spend too much of our lives working to be unhappy with what we do.

Have you ever considered following your passion in life and turning it into a career? Let's explore some methods you can use to do just that.

Tap into Your Volunteer Work
When people are passionate about something, they often find a way to be in the environment - even if it means they don't get paid. If you have been volunteering in the career field you want to move toward, highlight this experience and insider knowledge on your resume and tap into networking connections you have developed.

I met a man who was in the Air Force. At every base, he found a way to volunteer for the Forestry Department. When he transitioned out of the USAF, he wanted to be a forest ranger. He had already done the job, he just had not been paid for it. His resume started with and focused on his volunteer experience;  his work experience was simply icing on the cake.

Turn Your Part-time Hobbies into Full-time Work
Your passion may be something you do in your free time, outside of work hours. When people are truly passionate about something, they learn as much as they can about the subject matter. You may not have been paid for your knowledge before, but you still may be a subject matter expert.

I know someone who brewed his own beer as a hobby. He was very knowledgeable about the methods, ingredients, and different procedures because of the trial and error brewing he did at home. When someone asked him if he ever thought of pursuing this as a career, he said it had honestly never occurred to him. Within a week, he had found an opening at a small craft brewery in his hometown and applied for the job.

Explore Your Options
Everyone has an affinity or natural talent for something, they simply need to discover it. I like to ask people this question, "If you knew you could not fail, had the resources you needed, and were supported by family, friends, and community, what would you do?" Open your mind to the multitude of possibilities and dream big. However, it is also important to be realistic. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Will following my passion require me to start a business? Do I have the right personality, resources, and knowledge to be a business owner?
  • Will I still enjoy my passion if I have to focus on it 24/7?
  • Is my passion something that people are willing to pay for?
  • Is there a demand for what I do in the market?

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