Louise Thompson: Passion seeking (part 6)
I don’t think there has ever been a better time to decide to follow your passion, or create a career from your passion. The days of a career for life — one firm from apprentice to middle management with a middling gold watch on retirement — are long gone.
We are in a brave new era of flexibility and fluidity and we have the opportunity to literally construct our own jobs in a way that we have never had before. It’s a great time not just to think outside the box but work outside it too. I see more and more clients aligning with their passions, or moving in the direction of their dreams, with portfolio careers: combining a number of areas that light them up and pay the bills.
I have clients spending several days a week contracting in Big Pharma, and the other two days relishing their landscape gardening business, thriving on the difference in their week between a suit and a gumboot.
I have clients who have walked away from the traditional to set up their own game-changing health sector technology from the ground up. I’ve seen IT directors retrain as vets, and teachers set up as cafe owners. Big career switcheroos are absolutely possible and they are happening all around us.
There are no longer any rules. Careers can be conjured from thin air. The reality is that these days you really can make a living from the most random of occupations. There is a guy in the US who took his kid’s passion for toys, set up a Youtube channel reviewing playthings and is now turning over well over a million bucks a year (EvanTubeHD if you are interested).
A million bucks a year for playing with his kid! Way to combine a passion of spending more time with the family, flexible working and financial security. That’s not a job he applied for, that’s a job he completely made up. So, if you can’t find your passion in a set career, time and technology are on your side.
It’s never been easier to turn what you are into a career. You can even make something up to fit you like a glove. It’s more than possible. However, this usually brings on a freak-out about stability and security. I get it. I also get that I see people being made redundant — having the rug of stability pulled out from under their feet when they least expected it.
It’s not just the rules around a career for life that have changed; the rules around security and being looked after for life have too. We have the gig economy, zero hours contracts and so on. When you work for yourself you at least have the opportunity to see things coming and take evasive action, change course, put in more hours, launch an initiative, whatever it might be.
The assumption that traditional is more stable and secure than entrepreneurial is up for debate. Obviously, however, it does take more than passion. You also need a plan, you need some pragmatism and you need to show the hell up and do some actual work.
You don’t get paid in magic beans: you do haveto create value, consistently. The thing is, that’s true whether it’s your passion or not — so it may as well be something you love.
The working week can be long, but it definitely feels longer if what you are doing is not really your bag. Those of my clients who have made the biggest and bravest leaps are working harder than before while they establish or retrain: that’s the reality.
But what are they saying? That they feel alive in a way they haven’t for years. That the days fly by. That they look forward to Monday. The payoff can be — and usually is — huge, and in ways we don’t anticipate.
Be open to the possibility that your passion might not be obvious. That it might even sound like a ridiculous made-up job to the untrained eye. Appreciate that you live in the age where you can — and maybe you just should — make up your own job title. That it’s time not just to think outside the box, but to work outside it too.
Through her online Happiness programme “Wellbeing Warriors”, life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing