Would you believe that I have been working for 11 years now? I personally find it hard to believe especially since my life savings is not commensurate to the number of years that I have been working! I guess for most of those years, I have been living beyond my means – thanks to the tender, loving, care of credit card companies who care (or not care actually) for you enough to give you the ability to purchase like you had the money for it. Anyway…
I graduated with a degree in Financial Management and even had my internship at Citibank. But when Citibank hired me after I graduated, I quit the next day. I realized I did not want a job in the uber exciting, exhilarating world of finance (Disclaimer: I am just a kidder and I do not mean to offend anyone). So I turned to the next company that was willing to hire me, Accenture – formerly Andersen Consulting. Way back in college, everyone just wanted to get into Accenture probably because back in the day, Accenture offered the highest-paying entry level positions and they would send you for training to their Chicago office. So I was hired as an “Analyst” and guess what happened after two weeks of being trained on HTML programming and a whole lot of other fun are-you-freaking-kidding-me-programming-related stuff? Well, yeah, I quit again. That did not mean I knew what I wanted to do, I just knew what I did not want to. That point was actually frustrating as I have already started to call myself a quitter. But then my next job as an EA to a very diverse Managing Director, no matter how general it was, actually paved the way towards a career in marketing. Finally, I found something that fascinated me and motivated me. I found something I was passionate about. Regardless of my degree, because I was passionate about it, it all just flowed naturally.
I know how important degree or professional work experience can be when it comes to finding a job but, frankly, I do not really care much for it. When I need to hire someone, it’s really passion and drive that I look for. I don’t care if this person lacks experience so long as that person has that fire within. I am confident that this person will do everything he could to be at his best, to perform, grow, and all the time be happy about it. While experience can be gained and skills can be learned, genuine passion that comes from the innermost core of a person is unique. Of course if one has both experience and passion then that’s just plain awesome. So I choose to just work with like-minded, driven, passionate people. Passion is infectious and it will make working exciting and fulfilling, as if it’s not “work” at all. Just the same, lack of passion is also as infectious as an old and graying disease so if you had a choice to choose whom to work with, choose to work with people that will keep you driven.
I have encountered far too many people with x number of years experience in their field or area of expertise but have grown too tired of doing what they have been doing that their motivation is already questionable. When motivation is low and passion is dwindling, people tend to stay within the restricting confines of their comfort zone – they will be tied to methods and processes they have been used to, less explorative, less creative, sometimes lazy, with mediocre performance, somewhat unhappy. And sometimes this just drags everyone else down.
If you find yourself in this type of situation where your motivation is low and you are no longer passionate about what you are doing, something’s terribly wrong and you have got to stir things up. Don’t let yourself be square or a topic of someone’s blog. First thing to do is to ask yourself why you are in the situation you are in. Did you use to love your job but have just grown sick of doing the same thing year after year after year that it has already become an unbearable boring routine? Are you in the wrong industry? Would you rather be doing something else? Give yourself honest answers. As you answer yourself honestly, you will get bits and pieces of ideas that could potentially be the solution to your problem. The solution might be as simple as taking different courses or seminars on the side to sharpen your saw and rekindle your passion, be excited again. Or it may take a little bit more effort like asking your boss’ support to assign you a different role or a challenging project or leaving your current job for a far more exciting one. Or it may be something more daring and aggressive like relocating or pursuing a totally different career like shifting from being a corporate executive to being a full-time chef or an inexperienced entrepreneur. Whatever it takes to find your passion, don’t be scared and just do it. Embrace change. Be adventurous. The most successful people found their success not by forcing themselves to settle but by pursuing what they believed in, what drives them, what they love, what made them happy. I am not telling you to be reckless with your decisions but you should not be passive as well. Make that brain of yours work with your heart so that you may take calculated risks that will definitely be worth it as you find your true passion.
Now, if finding your passion involves switching careers and you are already in your later years (no longer entry or intermediate level, you know what I mean), I know how difficult it is to even fathom how in the world any employer will ever consider you for a role you have zero or very little experience in. I know it’s quite challenging to be given that break that you want but you have to be consistently proactive about it. A cover letter begging for a chance to pursue a role different from your skills and work experience will not cut it. Think. You need to market yourself well. Take a short course related to what you want to pursue, dig out all the related experiences you may have from your previous roles, highlight them in your CV and make them pretty. All you need is to make employers notice you with a bit of credentials, and then let your passion work on everything else. Nothing will happen if you will not push yourself to make things happen so BE PROACTIVE.
It is important that you LIVE WITH PASSION and as you start to reinvent yourself and your life, your career would be a good place to start with. Work takes up majority of your time and it sucks if majority of your time is devoted to doing something you would rather not do. Then start filling every other corner and crevice of your life too with just things that make your heart thump – nothing but pure, unadulterated passion in your hobbies, your home, everything!
© Karen Cornejo, September 2012
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