Turning Passion into Profit: How to Launch a Career that Matters to You
By Tina Martin
Becoming a mother changes your perspective on a lot of things, including the way you view your time away from home. When you’re spending 40 hours a week apart from your child, you want to spend it doing work that matters.
If you’re coming from the corporate world, you might not know where to start looking for meaningful work. What types of careers match your skill set? Is it possible to earn a good salary doing passion-driven work? This guide to launching a meaningful career will help you answer these questions and more.
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Finding the right career for your passion
“Follow your passion” sounds great in theory, but how do you put it into practice?
Start by examining your interests. Are you driven by a desire to change the world, to create something beautiful, or to stimulate your intellect? Do opportunities for leadership and self-expression excite you, or are you more interested in making a difference through behind-the-scenes work?
Next, consider the environment you want to work in. Are you a person who happily logs long hours in high-pressure environments, or do you prefer flexibility and work-life balance? Do you enjoy focusing on one project at a time, or do you thrive in roles where you juggle many tasks at once? Understanding your work values is the first step toward finding a career that matters to you.
Finally, consider your skills. A career change may require a new degree or other formal training, but that doesn’t mean you’re starting as a blank slate. Depending on prior work experience, you may possess a wealth of transferable skills. When comparing your resume to job descriptions, look beyond the technical qualifications to examine the soft skills required for the job.
Consider starting a business
Women who value independence and control over their working conditions will find their place in the world of entrepreneurship. Whether you open a brick-and-mortar business, become a freelancer, or start a consulting business, you’ll discover the professional freedom that your office jobs lacked. The earning potential of entrepreneurs varies widely, but most earn above-average incomes.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that starting a business requires dedication. Among other things, you’ll need to create a business plan, which should include financing to help your business weather various obstacles. If you’re starting a brick-and-mortar business, employees will be an asset, so think about hiring considerations as well.
In addition to bookmarking online resources, you can formally boost your knowledge of the business world by going back to school and getting a Master of Business Administration degree. You'll learn and develop important business skills from management to decision making. If getting a degree sounds daunting to you, know that you can take one course at a time, so you can better manage your schedule.
3 passion-driven careers to match your values
Now that you understand your core values, it’s time to brainstorm passion-driven careers that match them. These four careers are all great fits for passionate women, but they each require very different skills and interests.
If helping others drives you, social work could be the career for you. You’ll need a master’s in social work, and after completing your MSW coursework, you’ll receive a field placement to complete the clinical hours necessary to become a licensed social worker.
Do you want to make a name for yourself? If public recognition is among your top values, consider a career in politics. Whether you run for public office, lead an advocacy group, or become an expert in political communications, you’ll get a chance to make a difference and build your professional reputation. Political careers are all about who you know, so start by volunteering for a political campaign or getting involved in local issues.
Turn your passion for the planet into a career by entering the natural sciences. Science careers are a great fit for people who value personal achievement and intellectual stimulation. Scientists can work in the public or private sector, but either way, you’ll need a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in environmental science, ecology, geology, or a related field.
With this information, you’re ready to start taking steps toward your passion-driven career. It’s a big change and you may experience setbacks along the way, but remember that you’re not just doing this for you — you’re doing it for your family, too. By pursuing your own passion, you show your children they can achieve anything they set their minds to.
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