Turn Your Passion into Your Paycheck

Mark Twain said, “I do not regret the things I have done, but the things I did not do.”

I was in an industry for 10 years in which I made a comfortable living and gleaned invaluable experience, but I was miserable. Every Sunday evening around 4:00 pm I would begin to get a sick feeling in my stomach. That feeling was the angst from having to go to a job the next day that I couldn’t stand. I worked in a cut throat environment where you were only as good as the current day’s performance. I gave ten years of my career only to hear, “What have you done for me lately?” It seemed I was always one lost account or wrong decision away from losing my job. It kept me on my toes, but it was no way to live my life. My manager used to tell me, “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger!” but it began to feel like a slow death. When I would go on vacation it would take about four days for me to finally turn the job off and start enjoying it. I knew something had to change.

Then someone asked me a simple question that I had never thought of. This question was the catalyst that helped me plot a new course in my career: “If you could write your own job description, what would it be?” I couldn’t answer that question. I had never really taken the time to consider what I would really enjoy. If I was given a pen and a piece of paper and told to write my own job description and that’s what I would be doing what would it be? This questioned helped me realize that I had been going about my career all wrong. I was like many people that decide what they want to do by looking at help wanted ads. Instead of writing my own job description I was settling for the job descriptions that other people had written and I am not alone. Since that day I have asked many people the same question only to get confused, blank faced responses. It rarely occurs to people that they can write their own job description.

I came to the realization that if I work 40 hours a week for 35 years, I will have spent 72800 hours at work. If I’m going to put that much of my life and energy into something, then I mind as well enjoy what I am doing. I have always wanted to labor with a sense of purpose. Sure, I am as interested in making a good living as anyone else, but I want to be passionate about what I am doing. I decided to turn my passion of helping others into my paycheck.

For some of you, it may be that you’re just sick and tired of that feeling you get at 4:00 p.m. every Sunday afternoon as the reality of another week of working at a company, doing a job that you cannot stand, answering to someone who does not appreciate you, and collecting a wage at the end of the week that barely pays the bills sets in. For others it’s not about money, you’re just ready to do something you truly enjoy and are passionate about.

Sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and write your job description. Think about the things you are good at and the things you are passionate about and merge them into a rewarding career. Once you have your job description in writing it’s time to put a plan together. Find people who are successful doing what you want to do and learn from them. Put a step by step plan together to achieve your dream job. You are not as far away as you think. Don’t live another day in regret!

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