Millennials get a bad reputation for wanting to have a fulfilling career. How dare we want to do something that makes us happy? I get it. This conversation often doesn’t take into account the privilege of focusing on what you want to do vs. what you need to do to pay the bills. But no one can argue that having a career that you are passionate about doesn’t make a difference between an unbearably long day and a feeling of accomplishment in your life.
It can be hard to sort through the issues that you are passionate about and find a job you are good at. There is no shame in being unable to nail down your passion – much less apply it to your career.
Follow these tips from experts who are living their dreams and working in industries where they are making a difference.
1. Ask yourself – not other people – what you really feel passionate about.
“You have to listen to that sometimes quiet voice inside of you – and I know early in my career I was listening to everyone else but myself,” says Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to President Obama. “I said to myself ‘well if it’s not this what do you really want to do?’”
2. Think about where that passion can lead you.
“I would say my mantra is to always try to turn your passion into a career,” says education activist and teacher Nick Ferroni. “Never try to turn your career into your passion it’s impossible.”
3. That didn’t work? Find a job or side hustle that you are interested in and give it a go. Worse case scenario: You realize what you don’t want to do.
“If you don’t have an inner drive telling you, ‘this is what I want to do,’ then start working in the field that you think that you are interested in,” said Amy Ziering, two-time-Emmy-winning filmmaker. “People can also find their passion.”
4. Be realistic and figure out how you can support yourself.
I think that it’s very important that you enjoy the work you are doing,” says Roya Mahboob, serial tech entrepreneur. “But it is also important that you are being realistic that what you are doing can create comfort for you at the end of the day.”