What if I don’t have a passion?

Last week I sat in a training where my colleagues and I were asked to share one thing about ourselves that our coworkers didn’t already know. Immediately my mind started racing and I felt like the most boring person in the world. What do I do with my time? Is my dog really my whole life? Can I say I’m passionate about Netflix? Even as a full-time professional, I dread these questions, especially when asked in a public setting.

College students are constantly bombarded with questions like, “what are you going to do with your life?” And they receive equally helpful advice, such as, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” So what happens when you don’t know what you love? Or you love your friends, family, and quality time, and not necessarily a quantifiable hobby that can somehow lead to financial success. You get stuck. You avoid the conversation. When career choice gets directly linked to finding your passion, it’s easy to feel like you’ll never be ready.

For those of you relating to this predicament, I encourage you to watch the following Ted Talk. Some of my favorite quotes from Terri Trespicio’s talk include:

  • “You don’t create your life then live it, you create your life while living it.”
  • “Success leads to passion.”
  • “Don’t wait for passion to hit you… look for problems that need solving.”

If I had to choose one message from this talk to share with students who are undecided about their career options it would be to not let your fear of doing the “wrong” thing keep you from doing anything. It’s okay if you don’t know your passion, don’t let that stop you from trying out careers.

(I mean who needs a passion when you can have a dog!)

By Emily Merritt
Emily Merritt Career Consultant, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Emily Merritt