Can I be paid for doing what I love?

Rarely does a week pass without someone asking if it is possible to make a living doing something they love.

Let’s face it, most of us landed in jobs that were not of our choosing: perhaps your career path took a slight bend and now, years later, your life circumstances make you feel that you are stuck in this career — with no way out.

Or you’ve simply lost interest in your career because you’ve developed a hobby or interest that has ignited a passion within you. For example, last year I worked with a client who had enjoyed a successful career in executive level support in a legal firm, but longed to indulge her passion of working with animals and wanted to pursue a career change.

So, what is the answer? Can you be paid for doing what you love? Yes.

Some of the people who have inspired me the most in my career have been people with a burning passion for what they do. It shows in every aspect of their work, the pride when they talk about their role, their energy and enthusiasm. I’ve always admired people like that, but I didn’t truly understand it until I started doing what I love and being paid for it.

If you seek a change of career and want to make a career out of a hobby or interest, start by making a wish list of everything you want in a new role.

What do you hope to do every day? Where is that role? Small, medium or large company? Don’t just limit yourself to the standard money and work/life balance wishes; really drill down to what it is that makes you happy, what are you good at, what you wish you could do more of, etc.

Now start looking at the type of roles that meet your wishes.

What skills do employers look for? Do a skills inventory: you may be surprised by the skills in your arsenal. If you are lacking in an area, are there courses you can do?

What are your strengths? How will they benefit an employer? What value do you offer?

Find out what working in that role will really mean.

Do you know anyone in this industry who may be able to mentor you or provide advice and/or referrals? Reach out — people like helping and you don’t get if you don’t ask.

Can you volunteer your services in the industry to gain valuable experience and test the waters before launching into a full blown job search? You may have to dig a bit, but it is possible to find volunteer work outside your normal working hours so it doesn’t affect your role. And trust me, if it’s something you’re truly passionate about, it won’t be exhausting. It will be exhilarating.

I know a lady who was in her 40s and had spent her career as commercial cleaner. After helping her sister through a very acrimonious divorce and accompanying her as she sought counselling for the domestic violence and abuse she’d experienced, she became obsessed with helping people. She studied and whilst she was completing the course, volunteered at a family counselling practice, doing odd jobs in the office, assisting with set up of seminars and events, etc. Once she finished her course, she used that as experience on her resume and was able to provide people within the practice as referees.

Spread the word!

Tell your friends and family what you hope to do. Ask them to spread the word. Many job opportunities are created from this one simple method. Remember the value of networking.

It is possible to get paid for doing what you love, but first you have to love yourself. You need to understand your strengths, the value you offer and the benefits for an employer in hiring you.

Like any career change it will take patience and persistence, but you can do it and what a wonderful reward when you get paid for a job you love!



© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant


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