In Find Your Passion, Follow Your Dreams

Lately, I have been seeing a lot of articles about how to be happy at work even if you hate your job, like this one: 9 Ways to Be Happy with a Job You Do Not Like. Perhaps this influx is a response to the increasing number of employees finding themselves in survival mode, subscribing to the “just be thankful to have a job” mantra. Whatever the reason, when it comes to career, more and more people are feeling just plain “stuck”. And while the advice given in these articles is helpful and easy to apply, I think it is worth pointing out that if your job really makes you feel like you are “serving time for a crime you did not commit”, then you probably need to change more than your attitude and extracurricular activities.

This article, Finding a New You, looks at several people who had to professionally reinvent themselves after being laid off – a former Hewlett Packard exec who started a coffee roasting business; a former ad agency employee who became a yoga instructor and nutritional counselor; a paralegal who now owns a dance school; a Wall Street trader who became a teacher, and others.

The point is, if you are truly unhappy at work, you do not have to wait for freedom to come in the form of a pink slip. If these people can reinvent themselves, so can you.

Of course, one of the biggest challenges is deciding on a new direction. I like to think of career reinvention as a mashup of passion and skill.

Ask yourself two questions – What do you love? And what do you know? – then think about how your answers could translate into a new career or business idea.

For instance, you might love working in the legal sector, but prefer working from home. In which case, you might want to find work as a virtual paralegal. A virtual paralegal is a paralegal who works under the direct supervision of an attorney but usually works from home or from another remote location other than a law firm office. You can learn more about the benefits of working as a virtual paralegal by reading this article: Virtual paralegals can complete tasks related to marketing, legal admin, or preparing binders for trials, and therefore it is well worth considering working remotely if you have a passion for law, but cannot or do not want to commit to working in an office.

The article, Entrepreneurial Advice: Follow Your Passion, looks at two creative entrepreneurs who have experienced great success through combining their passions and skills. The first, David Morrow combined his passion (field hockey and lacrosse) with what he knows (manufacturing, from exposure to the company owned by his father). The result? Warrior Sports, a multi-million dollar enterprise that began by making titanium hockey and lacrosse sticks. Akin to websites such as that also deal with lacrosse equipment needs.

The other is Aaron Dworking, who combined his passion for classical music with what he knows: diversity (he has a white, Irish Catholic birth mother and a black Jehovah Witness birth father – along with white Jewish adopted parents). His great mashup was the creation of The Sphinx Organization, which works to increase diversity in classical music. Not only has it helped make music education programs available in underserved areas of the country, but The Sphix Chamber Orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall and now tours nationally.

I love this observation Morrow makes: “When you are young you have dreams, you say, I would love to make a living doing this. But somewhere along the way, … we go in a different direction and we start to compromise.”

Why do we do this? Why do we hang up our cleats, put down our pens, close the door on the things that fire us up and decide that it is time “get serious” and pursue a “real” path? How is working towards a vision belonging to someone else any more real than working towards your own?

What is your mashup?

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