The Path from Have to Jobs to Career Passion

mazeI posted a great quote this morning: “Talent is a pursued interest. In other words, anything you are willing to practice, you can do.” – Bob Ross.

There were a couple of comments that took me in a different direction: passion. One gentleman described his journey of 25 years from painting to building complete homes bottom to top. Another said it beautifully: “If one is pursuing an interest, be certain it is a passion. If that is the case, that interest will never be lost”

It is wonderful to hear about people following their passion, even better to hear when it is successful and best yet to live it personally.

But what if you don’t know what your passion is or feel like you will never get to live it?

There are a couple of things to keep in mind before getting frustrated if you feel this way:

Passions change
There is no straight line

When I was in college I was passionate about the criminal justice system and social change. I knew when I graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology I would be ready to change the world.

Then life offered me a different path, I met my ex-husband and we had our son. My passion was then being a full time mom to this tiny human. Later I completed my degree, but my original college passion had changed.

If you would map out my professional career history and put it next to a drawing my son did when he was 2, they would look identical.
Something like this:

With each position, my passions were sparked, doused, modified, clarified and identified. They changed and morphed until it all came together in a clear picture.

Even then, the path in following my greatest passion was not a clear-cut way marked with neon signs saying, “Do this”, “Go this way”. It was still a twisty path that I had to navigate. It also did not come to me until I was at an age that was not considered young.

Relax, you have time, you do not have to figure it all out right now. Even if you think you do, it will change. Just go with it and lighten up – it will happen when you allow it to happen for you. There is no timeline for finding and pursuing passions.

In identifying and defining my greatest passion I was taken on an amazing journey. Do you know why I can say that now? Because I suffered through the crap that I had to do, not wanted to do, and survived it. At the time the word ‘amazing’ would not have entered my vocabulary. Ok, it did, but it was normally followed by words like “…load of @#$%.”

When following your passion, more than likely you are not going to tip toe through the tulips; oh no, you are going to wade through fields of manure that comes up to your knees. Bad jobs, low pay, ridiculous hours, and having feelings of being underutilized, unappreciated, discouraged, frustrated, unworthy and many others that make you want to just give up.

Do not give up.

I had a full range of jobs from unpleasant to vile. I had jobs that had no relevance to what I am doing now. I had jobs that I would come home and think, “What am I doing? Is this what my life is going to be like forever?”

But each one was necessary. Each one taught me a lesson. What I want, what I do not want, what I will accept, what is unacceptable, how to behave, how to manage, how to lead, how to inspire, how to avoid getting thrown under the bus, how to survive being thrown under a bus, who I wanted to be and who I did not.

I had great bosses and horrible bosses. I had wonderful colleagues and people that made me question humanity. I did tasks that challenged me and things that were mind numbing. I had jobs that thrilled and excited me and jobs that sucked the life out of me.

Each one was a step to where I am now.

Do not give up.

It may not make sense now and that is okay. Each one of my jobs did not fit in my passion path. Some taught me personal lessons, not professional lessons. Do not try to make everything fit in the box. Boxes are constrictive and hold you back. I also learned to blow up boxes – it is fun, liberating and became another passion.

Look at where you are and where you have been and try to view it from a perspective of where you want to go. What did you learn? What did you like about your duties? What were you complimented on?

Start small, relax and remember – this is your journey. You will find your passion, when you are ready. Passion equates to love, and like the song says, you can’t hurry love.

No, you just have to wait.
You got to trust, give it time.
No matter how long it takes

I bet that song is now stuck in your head – you’re welcome. I just can’t decide if I like The Supremes or Phil Collins’ version better…

Just Because You Have a Passion For Something Doesn’t Mean It Is a Good Thing

whiff of bunnies

Another adventure in dog world last night gave me my inspiration for today’s blog.


It is getting cold here in Indiana; the temperature is dropping and we had a few flurries last night.  I thought it is the time that most outdoor animals are finding warm places to stay during the night and only venturing out in the cold when need be.


I was wrong.


I had to research bunnies and found out that they are crepuscular, meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk.  Not the bunnies in my neighborhood.  They have no sense of time – or boundaries.


I have four dogs – two of which are large: a pit mix and a lab mix.  The pit and the little girl have an unhealthy obsession with bunnies.  If they get a whiff of a bunny it is game on and they run around like crazy animals whining and carrying on.  It is kind of funny to watch, but also a little frightening seeing them transform into possessed dogs.


I would think with four dogs in a yard fenced with a six foot privacy fence that critters would have the sense to stay out of my back yard.


I was wrong.


Those darn bunnies were at it again last night and apparently one popped into the back yard right before I let the dogs out.  Long story short (too late, I know); the pit scaled the six foot privacy fence into the neighbor’s yard, out their gate and flew out into the neighborhood on a frenzied bunny chase.


So much for relaxing with a cup of hot cider and a good book before retiring for the night.


Off I was in the car with the windows rolled down, calling out his name, spotting him occasionally, praying that I would not have to chase him because my leopard print house slippers are not made for a foot race.


At one point I saw the bunny at the corner of one of our intersections.  I swear that thing looked at me like, “Could you take him home now please?!”


I finally found him, opened the car door and he jumped right in, only to sit in the back seat whining.  I’m not sure if he was whining about being in trouble for running away or for not catching the bunny.


This morning, as the dog is sucking up (pet owners will understand that yes, they actually do suck up when they have misbehaved) I realized that even thought he has a passion for chasing bunnies – he isn’t very good at it.


In three years and countless bunnies he hasn’t caught one yet.  None of them have, which is a good thing actually.


We all have passions, some we are good at and some we are not; for me it is feng shui.  I love it, but I wouldn’t consider myself very good at it, I am still learning and there is a lot to learn.


When job searching and interviewing it is great to know your passions; however, equally important is to know if they work for you.  Do they add value to you as a contributor to that company?  The last thing you want to do is go on a mini rant about how passionate you are about something, let’s say customer service, only to admit at the end that you are not very good with people.  Or worse yet not be able to demonstrate how you are good at it.


If my pup were in a job interview and went on about how he has a passion for chasing bunnies, explained how he did it and the amazing feats he does to go after them (scaling six foot fences) the interviewer might be impressed with his tenacity and thoroughness.


However, when he would follow up with the question of, “So, how many have you caught this year.” Imagine how bad he would look in having to fess up to “None.”  It completely takes the wind out of his sales and makes all the previous hoopla worthless.


Poor puppy probably wouldn’t get the job, they might even offer it to the bunny.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.


What If You Can’t Stand The Only Thing You Know?

I had dinner with a friend of mine last week and we were discussing his job searching progress.  He’s pretty much always worked in sales and that is the direction that he has been following during his search.  After a few minutes of talking to him about it I had to ask why.  He said it is because it is pretty much all he knows.

He was a little surprised at my response to his answer, which was: “But you hate it.”

Even before we had that conversation I could tell that he hated it because it was written all over his original resume – between the lines that is.  He continued to try to defend his desire to secure a sales position by saying it is the only type of experience he could really show.

It didn’t work with me.  I gently, well, as gently as I could, told him that if he really doesn’t like something than most likely he really isn’t very good at it.  Then we got into the really nitty gritty of changing perspective – from all accounts.

Just because you have always held one type of job does not mean that is all you know – and the only type of position that you need to continue to pursue.  It’s like marrying the wrong person then keep going out with that same type of person – how many divorces/breakups do you need before you realize it really isn’t working for you?

Be honest with yourself – if you really do not like what you do don’t be a masochist and keep getting the same type of position.  And if you don’t stop doing that then you have no reason to complain because you’re the one that is doing it to yourself.  You dumb bunny.  Seriously.

I know it can be frustrating and seemingly overwhelming to first make the decision to do something different then it gets worse in figuring out how to communicate your ability to do something different to a prospective employer.  Trust me, I get it – why do you think I do what I do?  So, let me be of some value this beautiful Monday morning and help you get out of your box.

First, step back and think about what you do like about where you are or where you have been.  Anything – just find a positive that you identify with.  For my friend it started with identifying a pet peeve – he has a thing about “canned” answers.  If a client is having a problem it irked him beyond belief to have to give a pat answer – he wanted to help them, really help them.  Even if that meant doing some research, involving other people – whatever it took.

Tada!  We hit on something.  It’s called a passion.  For him it wasn’t so much the sales part of it but the customer service side – the support.  From there we took a look at his past employment and identified how he had provided that support from a customer service perspective.

That is the key – find a clue, a morsel, a nugget of a new direction and then go back to uncover it within your background.  Rewrite your past from this perspective – your resume should be written to where you want to go, not give a cliff notes of where you have been.

I’m happy to say that he will be interviewing for a customer service job tomorrow and since he has a fresh perspective on his past he will be able to effectively communicate his abilities in this new arena.  I’m so proud.


Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.