What’s Your Passion & How Do You Do What You’re Passionate About?

by Christopher Paul on November 1, 2008

This week, I had a conversation with someone at work – someone I admire and respect a great deal for so many varied reasons – about passion at work. Not the primetime drama type passion but the work type passion that drives one to do well in their job or what makes them happy and excited to do what they do. This person asked me: “What’s your passion?” To which I couldn’t really reply with anything straightforward. So I really thought about what makes me passionate at work and I came up with two very different answers. I don’t know how to make sense of them. I don’t even know if either of those two things I’m passionate about would help me in my current job. That’s a little unsettling given I do like my job and especially the company I work for.

So what am I passionate about? Well, if you follow my lifestream, you can probably guess that I read TechDirt quite a bit. They talk about all the subjects I love: Intellectual property & IP Law, copyright law, PR, social media, and how companies use (or fail to use) technology in a way that can promote growth, innovation, and increased profits in ways that don’t have a negative impact on society, users, governments, etc. When I read the posts – especially when I read about draconian DRM and the anti-competitive nature of the big media companies – I just wish I was an IP or copyright lawyer who could defend someone or some company against frivolous or unconstitutional legal attacks.

Becoming an lawyer is difficult, though. Not impossible as I have two younger brothers who already practice law. But hard (and expensive) enough to make me seriously not consider pursuing a JD degree. As it is, things are tight for my family given the economy and I haven’t even paid off my undergrad student loans. Plus, there isn’t a guarantee that I’ll be able to get a decent job as a lawyer once I get done with law school – especially practicing IP law or copyright law. And while I’m sure NYC has lots of opportunities for legal professionals, almost all of the IP/copyright lawyers that I know live and work in Silicon Valley. I can’t move for a career change.

So while I feel passionate about IP & copyright law, I’m very scared of what it would take to become a lawyer. And I can’t say for sure that it would be something I would love to do for a living. After all, I do like my current job. And what I like about my job is also a passion I have. Its just that I can’t claim to be doing what I’m passionate about all the time; there are times where my job has me doing things I’m not so passionate about.

My passion at work is pretty simple: I like creating and managing teams of people to achieve a business objective. Most of the time, I get to do just that. But lately things are slower than they have been in the past and, while I am keeping busy, I’m busy doing valuable things that just don’t excite me. I know that, in time, I’ll be able to do what I’m passionate about at my job and I do have to be patient. I just don’t know if I can continue to have this up and down periods where I’m not doing anything I find exciting. I need to find a way to do something I’m passionate about 90% of the time instead of 50%, 40%, or 30% of the time.

So for those of you who know what your passion is: What is it?

And for those same people: Are you doing what your passionate about?

And for those people: How did you get to a point where you are doing what you’re passionate about?

Any advice for those like me?

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