Articles & Insights

Find Your Passion

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” ~Steve Jobs

Passion is everything.

I am quite familiar with the feeling of working an 8-5 job in a corporate office where everything and everyone seems dead, passion-less and routine. The atmosphere is thick with the sense that you are trapped inside of a very restricted box (which can also pass for your cubicle).

I don’t know about you, but I could not take that atmosphere for very long. My soul felt as though it was slowly withering away into a vast oblivion of mediocrity and complacency. Nevertheless, I remained. I felt like a caged bird wanting to spread my wings and fly toward anything that had more passion, more life, and more energy. However, this job felt very comfortable … and “safe.”

So, I traded in my heart for my head, innovation for responsibility, and creativity for stability. And in this process, I think I died a little inside.

I stayed with this company for seven entire years. Don’t get me wrong, there were wonderful things about it. We had great benefits, this company treated their employees extremely well and it was even named one of the “100 best places to work.” But the job just wasn’t for me.

According to a new Gallup study on the American workplace, 51 percent of full-time employees are disengaged at work. The result of this is companies with lots of unhappy employees pay a steep price in employees calling out sick, productivity, and even customer service. James Harter, chief scientist for workplace management at Gallup, a polling and management consulting firm said, “They feel negative about work and the workplace, and are doing more harm than good when they come to work.”

After 7 years of working in that job, my husband and I moved from New York to Arizona, seeking a change of pace and a new life. I went from working in a cubicle in front of a computer from 8-5 at a large insurance company, to having profound and impassioned conversations with potential students about their dreams at a creative institute. For the very first time in my career, I felt truly alive. The passion that I had pent up inside for so long was embraced and celebrated. I was in an environment that truly needed what I was hiding! I could emerge from the depths of mediocrity and express myself in positive and meaningful ways.

“In a world of mounting economic pressure driven by intensifying global competition, passion is essential to the kind of performance improvement needed to succeed” wrote John Seely Brown, former chief scientist of Xerox in Bloomberg BusinessWeek. A recent survey from HILDA (Household, Income and Labor Dynamics) in Australia even found that being in a job that one disliked could be worse for a person’s mental health than being unemployed.

Every day in my new job, I looked forward to going to work. Every day, I felt emotional strength, vitality and purpose. The gifts and talents that were placed inside of me could be expressed openly and vividly. I could not have asked for anything more. I loved their mission, and encouraging students to pursue a career in a field of creativity felt like a dream that was too good to be true. But it was true! It was my life!

“We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings” said the research team at the University of Warwick. A recent study by the economists at the University even discovered that happiness led to a 12% increase of productivity, while unhappy employees were found to be 10% less productive! In addition, Shawn Anchor, who authored “The Happiness Advantage” discovered that happy individuals were better at solving problems, and more creative. He found that when a person is feeling positive the brain works much better. He even stated that “Happiness leads to greater levels of profits” for a company.

My former company launched me on a career path of recruiting and people management that feels so right, one that I truly love, and one that I will never look back from. It has led me to Career Opportunities International, where my love of engaging with people is as a result encouraging others on their journeys to seek out that intersection where heart meets head. I finally have found my purpose. I now feel as though I am in a career that I was truly made for. I now have a sense of direction and feel as though I am accomplishing what I was born to do.

Please don’t make the same mistake that I did. Don’t settle. If you are feeling trapped in a career, now is the time to make that change. You won’t ever regret it.

The world is longing for the talent that YOU can offer. The world desperately needs what you may be holding back! Don’t remain in that small corner that confines and restricts what you were created for… get out there and find your purpose.

There is an entire, big, and beautiful world waiting for the gift of YOU… with open arms.

-Piyali Fordham, Executive Recruiter