How Do You Find a Job That You Love?

How to find a job you love
Photo by Eric Sanman:

How your passions, experience and skills can combine to transform a job into a fulfilling vocation

What are your passions? What motivates and drives you? How about your job? Do you do what you love?

Work isn’t always fun, but most people want to do a job that they are passionate about, something they can enjoy, where they feel they can make a difference, all while earning some money.

We all have a unique blend of skills, passions, and strengths. When these are expressed in our work then we have a vocation. Having a vocation can be described in this way:

“If you have a vocation, you have a strong feeling that you are especially suited to do a particular job or to fulfil a particular role in life, especially one which involves helping other people.” – Collins Dictionary

Or, as author Robert Louis Stevenson puts it:

“If a man loves the labour of his trade, apart from any question of success or fame, the gods have called him”. Robert Louis Stevenson.

It is possible to achieve this, and here I can speak from personal experience. My background in leadership, my skills in coaching and facilitation, together with my love of adventure and the outdoors, have been combined to become my career. I now get to do what I love, serving and helping people, all while earning a good income.

Passions: What lights your fire?

One bit of kit I take on every adventure is a fire-starter. A fire-starter is a magnesium ferrocium rod, that can be struck with a steel implement to create a spark. The fire-starter usually comes with a steel striker but you can also use the edge of a knife to generate the sparks. 

Although a fire-starter does not create a flame on its own (as a lighter does) it has the advantage of being very long-lasting and works even when wet. So, whether you need to light a fire in the backwoods or just start your gas camping stove, the fire-starter is an essential bit of kit. 

I like to think of our vocation like a fire. Our passions are like the spark that can start the fire, people’s need for that service or product are like the fuel to keep the fire going, and the income we receive is like the beneficial warmth that the fire provides. 

Therefore, in terms of The Right Questions Toolkit, the idea of passions and vocation are represented by a fire-starter. We can then use the Spark Tool as a conceptual model to explore how we can find a job that we truly love.

The Spark Tool: How to find your vocation

The Spark Tool is a way to identify your vocation. This is work that combines what you are passionate about, with fulfilling some market need, and creates an income. The Spark Tool can be visualised as a Venn diagram where the three interlocking circles are:

  • Thing you love
  • Things that people need
  • Things that can earn money

The potential vocation can be found at the intersection of the three circles, as seen in the picture below. 

Find a job that you love
The SPARK conceptual tool – TheRightQuestions

Using the Spark Tool to find work you are passionate about

Here is how to use the Spark Tool to find a vocation or job you will love:

  1. First take a large, plain bit of paper a draw three interlocking circles as per the picture above (or download the picture and use it as a free template).
  2. Brainstorm as many things as possible to go into each circle.
  3. Examine the relationships between the items in each circle and explore how they might meet in the middle to fulfil all three elements (passion, need and income).

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

Questions to help you find the job you love

To assist you in using the Spark Tool to find your vocation, here are some further questions to help you brainstorm things to go in each circle:

Passions: What do you love?

  • What are your pastimes?
  • What would you do if you didn’t have to work for money?
  • Which activities give you the most pleasure?
  • What stories (in books, films or other media) do you love most and how does that reflect what you want to be?
  • Which activities get you into a state of flow (where you concentrate deeply, work with focus and forget the feeling of time)?

Service: What can you help with?

  • What market need can you fulfil?
  • What product or service can you provide?
  • How can your strengths create a Unique Selling Point (USP)?
  • What help do people need that your skills can solve?
  • Which gap in the market might you serve?

Income: What can you get paid for?

  • Which different things have you done for work?
  • How have you earned (or could you earn) an income?
  • Who might pay for your work?
  • What level of income is enough? What do you need?
  • Which of your skills or qualifications are the most profitable?

How Jeff Bezos quit his job to do something he was passionate about

Jeff Bezos already had a successful career at age 30. He was the Senior Vice President of a hedge fund and in most people’s views, he was set for life. And yet in 1994, he quit that job to start an online bookstore, at a time when most people hadn’t even heard of the internet. Anyone advising him on his career at the time would have pointed out that this was a huge risk in many ways. 

But Bezos had been exploring his passions and finding out what worked for him. As he puts it:

“One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you.”- Jeff Bezos

Bezos had studied engineering and computer science and then worked in various roles in technology and finance. All these experiences came together in 1994 when Jeff Bezos saw an opening with the internet where his passions, a growing market and a potential income could be met. 

Jeff Bezos discovered his passions and then took action to maximise them in his work, even when it meant making a risky career decision. That prospect and online bookstore of course became Amazon, which would grow into the hugely successful behemoth that it is today. So, in hindsight, we can certainly say that the risk was worth it!

The cost of following (or not following) your passions

Not all chances pay off, and every risk we take must be measured. But it is worth asking yourself, what could you achieve if you followed your passions, not just your expected career path? And also, what would be the cost to your life and happiness if you don’t discover and pursue your passions?

“Choose a job that you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

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