I had a conversion yesterday with someone who wanted to know how I came across what I am doing today. They are thinking about alternative career options for the future, and they are unsure what options are out there for them to pursue.
In our conversation, I couldn’t give a better answer than “I fell into where I am today by luck.” Before I started writing professionally, I did not know that I wanted to be a writer. I knew that I loved writing, but the idea that I would become a writer was not something going through my mind. I was thinking about writing as a creative passion, not as a career.
When you’re planning out your career, it can be tempting to think about things in the context of careers.
What I mean by this is that it's easy to let yourself worry about the logistics of a career -- how much time you need to spend studying, what entry paths other people recommend -- which causes you to lose sight of what really matters: whether the work you would be doing is something that you would enjoy.
I came across the career I am pursuing today -- writing -- through serendipity. There was no single moment where I knew that I wanted to be a writer. I had a passion, and I explored it to the greatest extent that I could.
There is no substitute for passion in careers.
It’s always the people who are passionate who get far. Passionate people are so invested in their work that what they do ends up being of a higher quality.
To give you an example, I cannot write a blog post about a topic I am not interested in. My mind will wander, and even if I write something down, there will be a voice in my mind saying “what qualifies me to talk about this?” But, if I am passionate about something, the words naturally flow.
So, while it may seem like a good idea to think about your “career,” what really matters is whether or not you are doing work that you want to be doing. If you are not passionate about what you are doing, thengo do something that you are passionate about.
What if you are not passionate about anything in particular? Explore as much as possible until you find something that works. For me, I researched business, venture capital, among many other fields, and then I stumbled upon writing. This is a difficult process, but the truth is that there is no “hack” to find your passion.
When you find a passion, chase it as much as possible. Don’t let optics and “career” thinking get in the way. If you love something enough, you’ll find a way to make it into a career.