Creative Employment Starts with Finding Your Passion

by Edward Henkler on July 1, 2014

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will have seen some of my thinking on creative employment strategies.  Lifelong employment is gone and that means that the rules of the game have changed, affecting everyone who seeks employment.  A college degree no longer guarantees employment, even if you’re willing to just say “would you like fries with that?”  Companies also seem to be shedding more and more full time employees.

I believe creative employment is the answer.  It starts with a step that most folks never consider – uncovering your passion.  Rare is the employee who absolutely loves their work and would be willing to continue doing it, even if their pay were reduced.  We’d be more productive and happier if we were passionate about our work and I’d recommend a bit of soul searching to answer the following question.  If you won $1 Million but could not keep it or give it to family and friends, what would you do with it?  The answer to that question may also be a solid hint as to what fires your passion.

Once you identify your passion, begin to think creatively about how to get involved.  Perhaps you can volunteer with a non-profit or find a way to contribute to a company which is involved in your area of passion?  Focus all of your networking activities on your passion so that people immediately identify you with that topic. Attend relevant forums and read as much as you can find online.

Alan Webber, co-founder of Fast Company magazine writes in his 2009 book Rules of Thumb, that the “current business model in the profiles of successful start-ups includes:

  • Begin by being between 18 and 25 years old.
  • Drop out of school. Or have a dormmate who’s a nerd.
  • Borrow money from family and friends or trick your classmates into paying extra for cups of beer at parties you and your nerdy roommate throw.
  • Use the money to build a Web site for your idea.
  • Watch your idea go viral.
  • Sell it to Rupert Murdoch or a large media company trying to get hipper.”


Webber goes on to offer a “slightly different model:

  • It doesn’t matter how old you are.
  • Start with something you feel passionate about.  Don’t think about getting rich.  Think about something that you are driven to do.  Something you would do even if it never made a dime.
  • Learn everything you can about your passion.
  • Read everything you can get your hands on.  Find someone who knows more than you and glue yourself to them.  Keep going until you know more than anyone about the one thing you care more about than anyone.”

Many millennials are getting involved with startups and even if Alan’s related perspective is a bit tongue-in-cheek, it will also sound familiar.  The second paragraph won’t seem as familiar but is at the heart of creative employment.  Find your passion, give it your heart, and work will no longer seem like work.  If you’re able to stop worrying about becoming rich, you might even exceed your wildest dreams.

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