Finding Your Career Passion

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Categories: Careers

Finding Your Career PassionEarlier in the year, the job search websites went crazy as people tried to find work that was more satisfying. “While thousands of people are dealing with the tragedy of unemployment, many others are looking for jobs that are more fulfilling than the ones they have,” says attorney and author Pamela Samuels Young, whose newest novel, Anybody’s Daughter, was one of five nominees for National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards’ Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction. In January 2013, job search website www.indeed.com had a record 17.3 million unique visitors—a 24 percent jump, and this year will likely see a similar increase. Many of those job seekers won’t be looking for just a job, but one they’re passionate about. “It’s great if your day job is your passion,” says Young. “But if it’s not, you don’t have to give up a position that pays the bills in order to pursue your dream. You can do both.”

Since 2006, Young has pursued her passion—writing legal thrillers—as well as her day job as managing counsel for labor and employment law for Toyota Motors Sales, U.S.A. “I enjoy practicing law and I didn’t want to leave Toyota, nor could I afford to. But I also had a burning desire to write mystery novels,” says Young. Anybody’s Daughter, her sixth novel, is described by Kirkus Reviews as a "fast-paced, well-written thriller that's grounded in social issues." The book takes readers inside the world of child sex trafficking in the U.S. “I’ve always believed that if you have a dream, you should formulate a plan and make it happen. So that’s what I did.” Young’s plan included rising at 4:00a.m. to squeeze in some writing time before heading off to work, and turning weekends and vacation time into creation time. “Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I’ve published six novels, while still practicing law,” she says. “The hard work and commitment have definitely paid off.” Young offers these tips for busy professionals itching to pursue their own passions.

  • Schedule time to devote to your passion. On my calendar, you’ll find a few hours or full days blocked out as ‘Writing Time’ every week. You have to schedule time for your passion. If you don’t, the day-to-day demands of life will get in the way.
  • Put “passion” time ahead of “pleasure” time. If you’re working full-time and pursuing another job, you won’t have a lot of free time. You’ll have to cut back on watching television, socializing with friends, and even family time. Explain your goals to friends and family. People who have your best interests at heart will support you. But do take an occasional break to relax. Otherwise, you’ll burn yourself out by working around the clock.
  • Learn from others. Surround yourself with people who share your passion. Sign up for newsletters, read books, and join communities of other like-minded people. There are tons of professional groups whose sole function is to help their members develop their creative talents and business goals. Not only will you get energy and inspiration from networking with others but you’ll also grow.
  • Don’t put your day job on the backburner. It’s important to give your day job 100 percent. Don’t just dream about pursuing your passion, make it happen.

Pamela Samuels Young is a novelist, motivational speaker, and managing counsel for labor and employment law for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., the sales and distribution arm for Toyota and Lexus vehicles in North America. She published the first of her six legal thrillers in 2006. Anybody’s Daughter is her latest. Her novel Buying Time won the American Library Association’s Black Caucus 2010 Fiction Award.