Keeping Your Passion Alive Even When You Are Working “Just a Job”

Everyone needs to work – well almost everyone.   And there are times in our lives where it is more important to have a steady paycheck versus waiting for the perfect opportunity.  Maybe you are switching careers and building your skills in your new field.  Or you are at a point in your life where you need to take a step back and focus on other things but still need the income.  No matter the reason, my hope for everyone is that no matter where you are in your journey, you find a career that you are passionate about, not just a long list of jobs.

So, how can you find a job within your field and feel like you are continuing to build your career?  Well, I’m glad you asked 🙂   Below are three tips to make sure you still feel joy, fulfillment, and success even while you are just working a “job”.

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  1. Determine what you need out of the job.  We all have different needs during our life.  Sometimes we need flexibility so we can go to school or focus on our families.  Sometimes we just need a steady paycheck to get through a tough financial time.  Sometimes we want to be inspired and money isn’t an issue.  And sometimes we are building a new career and are willing to just get our foot in the door.   In order to determine what kind of job you will look for, you need to understand the non-negotiables for that job.   Then you can figure out what kind of job will fulfill those needs but also fill your soul.   When I was a stage manager I often had to take “day jobs” that would offer a better paycheck and benefits.  I was a nanny, worked at a daycare, was an admin for an acting coach.  All things that I didn’t mind doing but gave me the stability I needed while pursuing my theatre career. 
  1. Find work that is still connected to your field.  Even if you can’t get your dream role, you can still be a part of that industry.  It’s why I took the job as an AA for an HR team.  I knew I would help me continue to learn about HR and expose to me to great future opportunities.   If you are working on getting certified in the medical field, maybe you can work in a doctor’s office in the specialization you are interested in longer-term.  Or if you love fashion, maybe you can be a personal shopper or even work in your favorite store.  Maybe you love working with kids but need a flexible schedule, so you could become a tutor.  I was just on a webinar today for talent acquisition professionals who are out of work right now and someone had the great suggestion of offering to be a career coach until hiring picks back up in their field.  The point is that you don’t have to abandon your passion during a time you have to find a job.
  1. Share your long term goals with other people.   After I decided to leave the entertainment industry, we moved back east and I took the first temp office job I could find to help pay the rent.  As I got to know the people I was working with, I shared my idea of moving into HR.  Long story short, they didn’t have anyone in HR and they were willing to let me take on some projects and that became my first HR job!  Share your long term career goals with the people in your life and at your job.  Maybe someone will offer to mentor you, or introduce you to someone who can help you take that next step. You never know unless you start putting it out into the world!

Check out my episode of the Money Savage Podcast where I shared more ideas and thoughts about a job versus a career.  We all work too much and hopefully by thinking through some of the suggestions above you won’t hate going to work, even in times where it’s not the ideal role.  I realize some of this is easier said than done.  But I hope that this inspires you to take a step back and instead of taking the first job that you can find, you think about how you can find a role that will still give you some joy and feed that career passion you have.