Before you quit & follow passion

Often, people on social media advise quitting jobs and following one’s passion. I was exhilarated the first time I heard it, too! As the world is recovering from the lockdowns, 2021 has become the time of great resignation.

According to the United States Department of Labor, 2.7% of the US workforce quit in April 2021, the highest ever recorded at the time. Since then, that number has actually accelerated. 41% of workers across the globe are considering leaving their jobs. My career has been quite unconventional. I have precisely shaped my career subtly or the other times quite noticeably for almost the last 20 years now. I earned multiple degrees, including the Master’s degree, while working 60-80 hours per week!

In your next move, look for an opportunity, not a job.

– author

Here are my takeaways:

Don’t quit your job to follow your passion, just yet

The best way to do this is to give your passion the time and sincere effort it requires. Your current job provides you with the financial stability that you need. Doing so would not put the pressure on your passion project to make money from the get-go! It is the biggest reason why passion projects fail. It is like you are expected to win the Olympics the first time you jump into the pool to learn to swim! We explore our passion, not find it! We build upon our passion, not discover it! Let me give you my example. Photography is my passion. I took my time to learn, practice, exhibit, invest and repeat. I did not want to invest in expensive lenses and DSLRs from day one. The very first pictures I took were mediocre at best! After learning and practicing, I used a $100 pre-owned DSLR to produce decent images using a cheap lens before buying newer and better DSLRs and prime lenses. Keep in mind the law of diminishing returns!

On the same note, do not over-engage yourself in that job, either! Carve out as much time, your nights, weekends, to explore your passion!

One day or, day one. Choice is yours!

Paulo Coelho

How do you explore your passion?

Pick a theme for a month. In my case, for that one month, I became a student of food photography! I picked up online courses, I religiously practiced food photography to determine if I really liked it. Became the second shooter (for free!) and tried implementing it in different settings. Read books and studied the work of famous photographers. Just to get a real sense of what it is to be successful at food photography. I networked with people who excel at food photography and those who used to do food photography but no longer – because I wanted to educate myself on both sides. At the end of that one month, ask yourself this question: Are you excited with what you are experiencing, hearing, learning, practicing, and/or witnessing? If the answer is yes, extend it for three more months! That is when you go deep in that field, pick up freelancing projects and really get your hands dirty and start understanding the life of a food photographer. But if your answer was no, move on to the next theme!

At this rate, you would have explored anywhere between 2-10 different themes — along with the financial stability of your job!

Most people are in a hurry and want to change things very quickly. But, if you were just to be patient, you would seamlessly move towards any transition you want to make. Because what you would have is a foundation and knowing what to expect in that field along with the network of the right kind of people and mentor to understand what it is and the clarity that it is what you want to do! That would be a far better time for you to unlock that new career option than quitting your job and searching for a new one.

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