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Blending your passion with work is the secret to a dream career

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ABE at work
University of Nairobi Eng students working on a project /file

For many people, a job is a means to an end usually with no satisfaction.  I have seen people who earn a lot of money but are not happy with their jobs and those who don’t earn a lot of money excited to be at work.  A lot of times it isn’t convenient for those who are unhappy to change their careers because of financial obligations (rent or mortgage payments, car or college loans, insurance, etc). Sometimes being an adult and earning a paycheck isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

So how does this affect you as a high school student?  Well, you actually have the opportunity to do something about it, unlike so many professionals in the wrong jobs who may not have the chance to change directions in their career.  You have the power to determine what you want to do with your life.

These days many students’ career choice seems to be everybody’s business:  their parents, aunts and uncles, plus their neighbor who drives a fancy car. They continue to share their own experiences and try to convince the student what field and line of work is the way to go.

But how do you find out what career is best suited for you?  You could take an assessment test, like an aptitude test, that can help determine what career is best for you. A good friend of mine took an aptitude test early in her college years and the results told her to work as a psychologist. Turns out, she took two psychology classes and figured out that she had very little interest in the subject. She figured out after talking with career advisors at her school that the most important factor in deciding what to study and “do” with her life needed to be something she was passionate about, even if it’s more than one area. Why does being passionate about your career matter? If you are passionate about what you do, you will always be excited to go to work. It won’t feel like a job because this passion becomes part of who you are.

Once you have identified what you are truly passionate about and what excites you, talk to people who are in that field and find out what it entails. For example if you want to be a doctor but don’t like chemistry or can’t handle the sight of blood (like me) that could be a problem. Then start researching colleges that can support your passions and interests. In fact, you don’t need to pick just one major or program. These days many colleges and universities are combining programs – also known as interdisciplinary programs – because students have varied interests. Take Global Studies, a program designed for students who are interested in combining the insights found in diverse disciples as they seek to understand global issues and explore solutions to global problems. Students take courses within political science, art, business, religion, and sociology, English, History and even Food Nutrition/Dietetics! This is just one of many options out there, so don’t think your dream is invalid (Thank you, Lupita!), just don’t stop looking for it.

Maya Angelou once said “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well, that people can’t take their eyes off you.”  Trust me, when you are paid to do what you love, it’s not work. Ask me, I know.

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