Thursday, February 11, 2010

On ambition

I turned 29 last month. There. I said it.
I'm a bit worried, not because I'm getting old(er) but because I thought I would have have achieved more by now. Well, be married with kids or something. Or at least know the direction my life was headed in.
When I was in high school I had a homeroom teacher who made use write down 25 goals at the beginning of the year. The first 5 were short term goals to be achieved by the end of the year. The next 5 were to achieve within the next two years. The next ones within 5 years and so on. Then he told us to write 5 very cool, very fantastic, hearts'-desire goals.
I don’t remember what my Fantastic Goals were (pretty sure there was "own a McLaren F1" in there somewhere though) but I do remember some of my 5-10 year goals clearly. There was Travel the World (tick), Live in London For A Time (cross), Go to Uni and Get a Degree (tick) Get A Well-Paid Career (half tick) and Find the Man of My Dreams (surprising, tick!).
And now that I think about it, that's a pretty good strike rate. So why don't I feel like I've accomplished much? I think it's mainly because I have never had any ambition job-wise. I really, honestly, never had a career in mind when I was growing up. When I left high school, I got such a good OP score everyone expected me to do law or medicine. I balked out of Law at the last minute and did what I had suddenly decided that I wanted to do - Arts (for fun) and Commerce (for practical job-getting). After four years of study, the only things I figured out were a) I hate finance and most forms of commerce; and b) I love Anthropology but not enough to make it a career.
And so I landed by a serious of unfortunate incidents into my current Contact Centre job. Five years later, I feel stagnant, I'm itching to get out and really, really over telecommunications.
But I've got the same damn problem - I don't know what I want to do with my life. I desperately need to find my passion. And pay the mortgage at the same time. I feel adrift, directionless and lacking in ambition. It's so bad I was half-tempted this morning to look at a correspondence course in interior design.
I want to be that woman in That's Life! Who writes in about how she always knew she wanted to be a zookeeper, and now she's caring for giraffes in South Africa or some such. Or the kid who always wanted to be a firefighter, or a doctor and every bit of his education and effort has been bent towards this goal.
I need advice, peoples - how did you figure out your passion? Did you always know what you wanted to do with your life?


  1. well i don't know what i wanna do when i grow up (i say grow up as if this is still in the distant future...sigh) so I'm not much on advice in this department.

    HOWEVER, I believe strongly that theres no such thing is a cut and dry career anymore. this is the new world and in this world we will all have several careers. in our jobs we will be multitaskers and perform duties that our parents and grandparents would become angry with and say "but thats not in my job description"

    for myself i have few goals. i want to be able to pay my rent and bills. i want to be able to pay my student loan bill every month. and i want to be able to do something fun for a weekend once or twice a year. nothing extravagant. and jobwise, i just want to work with a creative group of people. thats it.

    so my only advice is to do something that lets you meat your everyday goals, and to do something fun once in a while, and a job that doesnt kill you to go to every day. we were all brought up to think, when someone says "what do you do?" i have to impress them.

    well BAH i say! now I just want to confuse them!

  2. Your passion is what you enjoy doing and find a job that has that element in it. Very few jobs in the world will be anyone's passion in their entirety - so you need to be content with finding a job that has some part of it that is your passion and try not to let the other stuff in the job get you down.

    As for finding your passion, make a list of the things you really enjoy doing in your life, then work your way down the list picturing yourself in a job that involves each item and see if it feels right.

    The problem is that there are lots of jobs out there that people don't know about or understand. When I was young I wanted to build things and create things. Being "an inventor" isn't a career path I wanted to risk so I talked to some other people who told me about Engineers. It worked out well for me.

    The answer is out there - don't give up until you find it. Remember that it's only over when you give up.

    Best of luck!

    Kindest regards,



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