If You Don’t Have A Passion, Rule Out What You Don’t Like Instead

If You Don’t Have A Passion, Rule Out What You Don’t Like Instead
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A lot of career advice seems to centre around pursuing your passion. This is great if you know what your passion is, but what if you don’t? It might help to think less about what you love and more about the things you don’t like.

Picture: Klearchos Kapoutsis

If you do have a clear idea of your passion in life, this might seem odd to you. But not everyone feels they have some greater, higher purpose. Some people may not be driven by any one vocation, but they still work hard and live happy, fulfilling lives. But most advice on picking or switching careers is usually focused on passion. If you’ve searched for your passion, and you still don’t know what it is, what else are you supposed to do? Career Development Specialist Lily Zhang suggests ruling out the things you don’t like instead:

Knowing what you don’t want can almost be as helpful as knowing what you want. Maybe you’re the kind of person who really can’t name what you find enjoyable, but who knows when you’ve encountered something you don’t like. That’s completely fine! Go with your strengths and start figuring out what doesn’t work for you.

Your dislikes might be based on prior job experience, or it might be based on what you know about yourself. But listing the factors you find intolerable about a job, then ruling out jobs that include those factors, can help you narrow down your options.

Some of us know exactly what our passions are, but for others, that question is a lot more difficult. It might not come until later in life; it might not come at all. But I like Zhang’s advice because it offers a way for people who don’t know what they’re passionate about to find a job they at least enjoy.

Check out her full post for more insight.

Stop Asking Yourself “What’s My Passion” and Start Asking This Instead [The Muse]


  • The whole “your job should be your passion” thing has always annoyed me. Perhaps it’s an American thing, because in years of working in Australia, the UK and mainland Europe I can think of very few people who are passionate about their jobs. Sure, plenty of people like their jobs, some love theirs, many tolerate theirs and still others hate theirs, but passion? Pretty bloody rare.

    • I think it depends on the sector and market you work in. Many of the people that work for me wouldn’t be doing what they do unless they enjoyed it or were passionate about it. If I won the lotto tomorrow I’d still go to work as I particularly enjoy what I do, and I could say the same for many staff/colleagues I have worked with over the years in my market.

    • Agreed, grod. I’ve had two jobs that were my passion over the course of a career that has included many other jobs. I’ve come to peace with, “I have an expensive hobby, and I love this job which, if I do well at it and earn a good incentive bonus, gives me the funds I require to pursue my hobby when I am not working.” I used to be a 60 hour week person, when trying to work *toward* a job that I was passionate about, and a 70-90 hour a week person when working *in* a job I was passionate about (because I couldn’t bear to leave at the end of the day!). Now I work 40-45 hours a week and focus on my hobby 20 hours a week. And that particular hobby is not one that I want to be a job. There is intellectual and creative freedom in it today that would not be there if I had to focus on it being income-producing rather than something I just do for joy.

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