When you begin your job search after college graduation, you will likely have a lot of advice offered by many people. Family, friends, lecturers, and career advisors will undoubtedly have advice to offer. One piece of advice you are likely to hear is to “follow your passion.” That sounds simple enough, but what if there are no college graduate jobs in the areas that you are passionate about? Or perhaps you just don’t know what you are passionate about. Either way, this advice – however well intended – is not always the best advice to follow.
If you aren’t sure what you’re passionate about in regards to your career, or if you don’t know what type of entry-level jobs would fit your passion, there is another way to build up passion and expertise. Working hard at the job you get – whatever job that is – will eventually lead to a passion for the job as your skills are honed and the quality of your work increases. Hard work not only gives you the chance to learn new things and be better at your job, it helps build confidence in your abilities too. Passion often follows hard work, perhaps even more often than the other way around. Those lucky enough to be able to make a career out of their passion are few and far between. If that can’t be you, you can simply do it the other way around. Work hard – and let the passion follow.
You never know what your entry-level job will lead to, so keep an open mind and consider all your options. There is a well-known story of a college graduate whose passion was to become a journalist. He focused his education towards achieving that goal, worked as an intern, and tried to freelance. No matter what he did though, he couldn’t seem to find anyone willing to hire him. Unable to find a job in his chosen career and needing to make ends meet, he took a job at a local restaurant where he discovered he had an interest in wine. He eventually went on to became a top sommelier at a famous restaurant, earning considerably more than he probably would have earned as a journalist.
If your passions are not focused on your career, find a different way to spur passion about what you do. Do it well, work hard at it, take on whatever you are asked to do (or volunteer to do more), and be passionate about working hard. That will make you a valued and respected member of the team and you may find your passion along the way.