Following your interests

Working in a field that you’re really interested in, makes the difference between your job being just a job and it being so enjoyable that it doesn’t feel like work.

People often tell themselves that they should keep their interests in their private life, totally separate from their work. The argument runs along the lines of ‘if I do this for work, it’ll spoil it.’ It’s often an excuse to stick with a safe option, spending your working life doing something that’s at best ok and at worst that you hate.

When you meet someone who works in a field that they love you can hear the enthusiasm in their voice – and it’s this enthusiasm that’s often carried them as they’ve made a change from one field to another.

So, if you think you could be happier working in an area you have a real love for, what should you do? To begin with, identify all of your interests by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How do you use your leisure time?
  • What would you rather be doing instead?
  • What did you love doing when you were younger? What interests and passions have you lost touch with?
  • When have you been so absorbed in doing something that you didn’t notice time passing?
  • When have you felt really interested in your current or previous jobs? What were you doing?

Once you’ve identified all of your interests, take your top ten and think about all of the ways in which they can translate into career choices. Be open – you’re just thinking about possibilities. And ignore any nagging voices that tell you that you’re wasting your time because interesting jobs are out of reach. Do some research and get others involved. There will be jobs out there that you’ve never heard of.

For one of my career coaching clients, one of her biggest interests was doing things up that she’d bought at car boot sales and markets. She’s now working towards setting up her own furniture restoration business. This is a relatively straightforward link but other related possibilities might have been working as a buyer for a business, running a market stall, working as a museum curator or being a history teacher (part of the attraction for my client was also the history of the objects and how they’ve been used by their past owners).

Think about the themes that underpin your interests. What do you particularly love about them? If you’re passionate about reading, what exactly about it gives you most pleasure? If it’s the insights that it gives you into what makes people tick, this sparks career possibilities around advising, counselling or coaching others. Getting under the skin of interest takes you beyond the obvious career links.

To begin with it can seem as though some of the options you come up with are unattainable but that’s because you’ve only just thought of them! And when you find something that you know you’ll really enjoy, something that gets you excited, you’ll find a way to make it happen, even if it takes a while.

If you want a great job that’s just the right fit for you, you need to allow yourself the chance to let your imagination run riot on the possibilities. Then, in the future, you could be the person who talks enthusiastically about their work, instead of just wishing you did!

© Michelle Bayley 2007

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Michelle Bayley is a Certified Professional Life and Career Coach based in Twickenham, South West London.

Read about Michelle’s career, life and executive coaching services, or contact Michelle to arrange a free consultation.