Find your passion and you will never work a day in your life.....

Is this true? Does this phrase sound like the advice we may give to our students as they seek a career pathway? Carol Dweck and Greg Walton argue that we don't find passions, but we develop them. They seek to understand how mind-sets affect a learner's pursuit of a career.  

Do we introduce students to a wide variety of pathways and opportunities so they can develop their interests? Or do we ask their interests first and then customize the instruction? I'd love to hear your thoughts on how we can develop passions for career pathways.  



I recognize how this issue can be a sort of "chicken/egg" scenario.  I also know that in most people I know there are some basics they know interest them such as helping people, working with their hands, highly creative activity, working outdoors v indoors, and others that must drive their career selection.  I also know that you can take those and find a good career for someone using their talents while they also may pursue hobbies or side jobs with some of them.  For example, a young man who likes to work on mechanical things chose to pursue a training program in industrial technology and yet keep his tinkering on cars as a hobby.  Another young woman wanted to help people and she thought researching a cure to cancer would be the way, but along the route in college she came to recognize that the lab wasn't really where she wanted to be, and she has ended up with a great legal career.  She volunteers to help cancer patients who need transportation or other support services.  None of this is necessarily an easy decision.  Out of all my friends, my children and their friends, NOT ONE ended up with the same major on their diploma as the one they entered college thinking they'd pursue.  Study is excellent for opening the world to students so they can find the right path.  But we can help them direct some of that search using their fundamental personality traits and interests.

I found this article to be quite fascinating.  I probably have advised my kids and my students to "find their passion"  and then added, "work hard at everything you do".  Many students show abilities in certain areas (better at math than language or visa versa), but I have also observed with adult learners that they often can learn a subject as an adult that they struggled with as a younger student.  I would support the growth theory and advise to work at a variety of interests to develop the "passion".  Thanks for posting the article.  It is something to consider. 

 Thanks for posting this article, Kathy.  I especially appreciate this quote:

"A different study done on adults’ views toward passions suggests that people who think passions are found tend to pick jobs that fit them well from the outset. They prioritize enjoyment over good pay. People who think passions are developed, meanwhile, prioritize other goals over immediate enjoyment at work, and they “grow to fit their vocations better over time,” the authors of that study write. “In conclusion,” they add, “people who have not found their perfect fit in a career can take heart—there is more than one way to attain passion for work.”

The idea that "people who think passions are developed...grow to fit their vocations better over time" is something that should influence how we think about pathways programming.  When learners finish our program, are we sending them out with a roadmap for exploring their relationship to their field: continuing education; advancement opportunities; industry job boards; recognition and awards programs; etc?  We need to connect graduates to CareerOneStop resources, and encourage them to find their vocational fit as something that may take time to develop.  I'm interested in hearing what else programs are doing to help learners see the long view of finding a best vocational fit in their chosen career field.

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

I have taught a variety of ages over my 20 year career and I find this statement absolutely true. I enjoyed teaching children in the public school ,but after I began teaching adults I would never go go to public school. The groups I have taught love learning and this love is contagious . The class is eager to learn and improve their learning of English. This behavior has changed my class and they are energized about learning. My students use this love of learning has motivated them to find new careers that they enjoy.