The Ramblings of Derek Homan

programmer, nerd, human

Finding a Career You Are Passionate About

I hate when people say you should do something you are passionate about. Because usually the answer is something that they like (but aren't actually passionate about) or they say they aren't passionate about anything. And then that's the end of the conversation.

The "passion" people talk about is always the all stars, the people at the top of the game, getting paid a lot of money for a task they are really good at.

The hard truth is you aren't going to suddenly find yourself passionate about something that you weren't already.

Passion isn't something you randomly find, it's more something that you may not have noticed that you had but was always growing because you kept at it and kept getting better at said task or skill.

How to Find Passion in a Task, Hobby, Etc

I think society does a bad job of teaching us how to become passionate about something. They tell us that we should do something that we are passionate about, but NEVER how to become passionate about something.

In reality, you work hard at getting good at it and one day you'll realize that the hard parts about it are no longer quite as hard, and that you actually find it enjoyable.

But since you never start off good at something, the sequence of events looks like:

hard work -> skill -> reward -> passion

and it's only when you find yourself skilled and getting a good reward for the task do you realize that you are passionate about it

But how do we do that as adults? You got to start small, and reward yourself for those small victories (or have someone who gives you positive and constructive feedback.) And keep repeating the cycle with increasing difficulty.

For instance when we are kids, our parents reward us for things that we aren't necessarily good at (ie piano lessons or sports) in hope to cause us to do it more, but as an adult we don't get that positive reinforcement to keep at it when our skills are just beginning to develop. And that's criminal in my opinion.

For jobs that require skills, this is very applicable (programming, design, cooking, carpentry, etc) but a lot of modern business jobs all have a wide variety of titles but the actual tasks can be all over the place.... so what do you do in this case?

Job Satisfaction or Dissatisfaction

I don't think the actual task or job that you do is the source of joy, pride, or passion.

No, it's the feeling of appreciation that others give you for doing it (reward). I've been a programmer at companies where I hated my job and questioned why I did what I did, and I've worked jobs that I love. The only thing that changed was where I was working, and who I was working with

I think the thing that leads to the most job satisfaction is appreciation; which primarily consists of how you get along with your boss, coworkers, and how well you get paid. As those all factor into that reward aspect I was talking about. Even if you get paid well, if your coworkers or boss(es) make you feel like shit, chances are you won't like your job.

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