When someone tells you to “follow your passion,” the advice isn’t inherently wrong. It’s simply incomplete. Knowing what you enjoy in a career is essential, but knowing what you dislike is even more crucial and arguably easier to determine. So next time you find yourself questioning whether you’re in the career you want, ask yourself the following questions.
Is this really what I want?
The important thing when evaluating your career is to be intentional, even experimental. We all know someone who took a job they hated because they wanted to please someone else, so before you do that, ask yourself the question above.
What are your first principles?
Very few jobs are likely to contain all the things you love, so find ones that provide as many as possible while offering as few downsides as possible. To do this, break down decisions into first principles — things you know for sure to be true for you. This approach requires you to deconstruct complicated problems into essential elements and then reassemble them from square one.
How have others felt about this?
Social media provides access to people across every profession, and many of them have gone through exactly what you’re experiencing. So don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for their perspectives. They might just be able to give you the guidance you’re seeking.
Is there something new worth trying?
Sometimes, there’s no way to understand what you don’t like without trying it out. Even with a high degree of self-awareness, most people need to evaluate a few different opportunities before coming to terms with what matters most to them in a career. In other words, don’t be afraid to test new waters every once in a while