If your chosen career is motivated by true passion, is the commute really that long? Are the office politics really that onerous? Are the inevitable extra hours really that tiresome? Whether the economy is “firing on all cylinders,” as the analysts are fond of saying, or whether one in 10 Americans are without steady work, there are always options.
Do you love foreign cultures? Learn another language—not out of obligation to work for a multinational company, but from real desire. From embassy to agency, you’ll always have a place to make a professional contribution.
Do you love specific products, those that you use every day and cannot live without? Learn all you can about them, not out of necessity to obtain a sales position (which remain abundant even in bad economies), but from real desire to convey what you’ve clearly benefited from yourself.
Do you love food? Go into any supermarket, health-food or specialty store and take a good look around. What are they presently doing that you’d enjoy? Perhaps even more to the point, what are they not currently doing that would make a tangible positive difference for their customers?
Do you love computers? If so, you’ve already got a leg up, so put forth the other leg and get a service certification. You’ll not only be working each day on something that you find stimulating (perhaps even before you could read), but your days would be spent helping people with something of critical importance.
Do you love seeing justice prevail? Take the relatively brief paralegal training and join the kind of law firm engaged with work that makes you eager to come to their office. Many law firms will happily pay for your ongoing education in return for an employment commitment, so take advantage and get your law degree.
Do you love music? Accept a position in arts management, agenting, marketing or recording. You’ll have the opportunity to spend time around amazing sounds each day, while working to convey the gifts of talented people to the world at large.
Do you love politics? Intern for one of the state or federal politicians in your area for whom you feel a real connection, performing policy research or engaging in constituent help. Such jobs often lead to more permanent positions.
Do you love cars? Enroll in courses that lead to auto repair and maintenance certification—or choose sales, if you enjoy spending your days driving around in new cars and helping people with what is generally their second-largest purchase beyond a home.
Here’s how Al Pacino, for one, keeps his passions fresh by diversifying and continuing to pursue a wide range of what he loves in his 70s. Being open to learning different or advanced skill sets closely aligned with things at which you would choose to spend any weekend afternoon—not for a paycheck but for the sheer delight of it—is guidance enough. Have fun! And guess what? The paycheck is not far behind.