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Are You Pursuing Your Passion?

This article was written by in Career and Work. 5 comments.

I am struggling to determine my “dream job.” I would like to get out of the rut I believe I am in, but I’m not quite sure what to do. How do people determine their dream job? I think most individuals stumble upon it by accident, while others — possibly many more — never find it.

I was just thinking about this issue today — it’s kind of a Thanksgiving tradition for me — when I happened to come across Kiplinger’s take on the issue, an introductory guide to finding your dream job. Starting with the basic advice, “Find something you like to do and figure out how to make money doing it,” the article goes on to present a few tips for doing just that. It’s not an easy task, I’ve found.

The article is full of examples of people who have done the impossible — they’ve left a steady corporate job with a reliable income and some level of security to jump into something new or to explore their options. These are the tips offered for those who feel they’d rather be making a living doing something they love rather than accepting that work is nothing more than a cruel necessity:

Discover what you should be doing. If you don’t know, talk with a career coach. You can find one through the International Coach Federation or Coach Inc. In your search, you may discover that your calling is to provide career coaching service, as Valerie Young did. She now runs This step can be quite costly. Coaches charge significant fees for use of their services, sometimes more than professional psychologists who have an accredited degree in their fields.

Immerse yourself. “Learn everything you can about your dream job. Join associations, talk to people who work in your chosen field, and volunteer.”

Make a plan. Don’t put it off, but don’t rush into any major changes without giving serious thought to a time line. What are realistic expectations?

Be creative. There must be a way to earn a living while pursuing your passion. The trick is to uncover the elusive “Step 2” — the unknown “???” — between discovering what you love and “Profit!” if you believe what the underpants gnomes preach.

Face your fears. What is holding you back? What ever it is, it can be conquered.

Updated February 7, 2012 and originally published November 17, 2005.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

avatar 1 Anonymous

LOL! i LOVE that you referenced the underpants gnomes!!!! thanks :)

avatar 2 Anonymous

I know someone who left his six figure job as an investment banker in NYC to open a party store selling widgets in Ohio. The first year was consistently bad, the second year had ups & down and the third year he went on a vacation for the first time in 3 years. I don’t know whether he made any profit but he was happy. My dad started business after business. Every time a business started returning profit he would move on to something else. We never had much money but he liked the adventure. My brother works straight 72 hr shifts at the hospital and is on call even on his few off days. Some days he’s too tired but when I ask him if there’s something else he’d much rather be doing he says no. I think your dream job is one that you can see yourself doing day in and day out, occasionally tired and maybe even miserable but always knowing that there is nothing else you would much rather do. So, the only question you have to figure out the answer to is what is it that you want to do so badly that sacrifices along the way won’t matter. If you had to live hand to mouth while you are waiting for the world to catch up with your accomplishments, what is the one thing that you wouldn’t want to stop doing. Because unless your dream job happens to be crunching numbers in a cubicle or any other safe job you can pretty much take it for granted that you won’t be rich overnight doing what you love.

On the other hand, I read a study that people who are unhappy or confused in their jobs live an average 5 years less than those who love their jobs. So, really, if you think about it you have less to save for retirement…

avatar 3 Anonymous

I’m in that position right now of trying to turn my dream job into one that I can actually make a living at. Will I make it happen? Yes, but the time frame is still up in the air. I’d love to be doing it now full time, but the income just isn’t there at the moment. I’m currently doing a 6 month trial at it which was made possible because my partner agreed to forgo his share of the income for the 6 months.

What I’ve found is that even though I work much longer hours on it, the time that I work seems to be much less. When you enjoy what you’re doing, time just goes by faster. The current goal is to have my websites be my main income within the next 2 years. Of course, sooner would be better :) While some obstacles exist in making that happen, I think with our current plan it is feasible.

The hardest part is starting and figuring out that a dream job usually isn’t something that already exists, but something that you must create yourself. You know yourself better than anyone else and therefore have a much better chance of creating that perfect job than finding it as a position someplace else.

avatar 4 Anonymous

Have you read Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Bait & Switch?” I would be pretty leery about giving any money to most of these career coaches that are out there, it seems like a really dicey industry.

avatar 5 Anonymous

I think the answer to pursuing your passion is already inside each and every person. It’s just covered by doubt and fear. There is a way to dig it back up. I wrote an article that may be of interest to you and I hope people can benefit from it.