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Why Grads Must Place Passion Over Paychecks

On average, a person will spend one third of their entire life at work. One third! That's way too much time to be doing a job you don't enjoy, right? And yet, a majority of US workers find themselves in this unfortunate position.

According to a 2013 poll, only 14% of employees in the United States felt they had found the best job for them. And 54% of workers in their 40s said they wanted to change careers completely. That's a huge percentage of people tied to jobs that aren't right for them.

This error could be be the result of job hunters following paychecks instead of their personal passions.

What are your passions? Oftentimes you can find them in the talents and topics that bring you the most joy and personal satisfaction. The possibilities are endless — sports, the arts, model trains, and so forth —  and they can come so easily and naturally to us that we may be apt to dismiss them as frivolous hobbies. We may do so especially when we're told that true success can only come with hard work, but trust us: these passionate pursuits might just be signposts pointing you toward a truly satisfying career.

Don't know your passion yet? Don't worry. Take some classes, try a new hobby, adventure out of your typical routine and see what clicks for you.

Once you find your passion, it's time to unlock the core component of that particular pursuit that brings you the most individual joy. It's not as difficult as it might sound. It's usually the part that you look forward to the most, the one that you're most eager to talk about with others. And this core component can be very different even among people of the same general interest.

Let's talk about sports, for example. If you like the competitive nature of the game, you might enjoy a career in sales where you will hustle to earn the biggest commission in your company. Do you like to keep track of all the complicated player stats? If so, you may truly enjoy being an accountant or working in shipping and receiving. If you find yourself drawn to the commercials, you may want to consider exploring a career in advertising.

We can continue. Enjoy drawing or painting? You could explore architecture or web design. Have a love for building model trains? You may want to check out engineering or manufacturing.  It's your passion, it's your choice. Follow your bliss. Wherever your personal passion leads you, there's a good chance there's a related career choice that's a perfect fit for you.

You're probably thinking, but what about paying off my student loans? Fear not, young graduate. If you have a job you actually like, you will work harder and better. In fact, job expert, coach, and speaker Curt Rosengren argues that loving your job gives you more persistence and confidence. In turn, you overcome mistakes with dignity and and feel comfortable trying again. Because of this, you may even reach raises and promotions sooner than you would at a job you detest. If said job doesn't pay well, stick to a strict budget to ensure you make ends meet. Though abstaining from fun activities may be painful at times, we promise you that you won't be in this position forever.

If you truly enjoy your work, you'll have a far better chance of performing well and earning even greater success — both financially and emotionally. Rosengren also notes that employees who enjoy their jobs have more energy to invest in their work. This creates a "virtuous circle," as he calls it, where you put passion into your work and become energized as you do so. Then you have more energy to begin the cycle all over again. You will be recognized for this and it will pay off when it comes time to award raises. Additionally, this will give you plenty of time and strength left to continue enjoying your passions in their purest forms (be it at the drawing table, on the court, or wherever you may find your passion ignited).

Remember: money can't buy happiness, but happiness can't buy groceries. Why not bring home the bacon while doing something that puts a smile on your face too? It's a great way to spend a third of your life.

There's more to finding a job than pursuing your passion. For more tips, help, and insider opinions, download MyPerfectResume's graduation eBook.

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