Find Your Passion and Make a Career Change

By Patricia Noel Drain

Since I was living in Scottsdale, Ariz., the resort capital of the world, I started interviewing for jobs within the resort industry. I discovered immediately that the resort industry wasn’t for me because it only had one of my ingredients: use of my communication skills. That was it.

I also interviewed at a computer sales company, a real estate firm, a car dealership, and an insurance agency. It proved to be a long process for me to discover what I did not want. None of these environments or jobs satisfied more than two of my ingredients.

Then I read an ad for a salesperson at an executive recruiting firm. I had never heard of such a company because none existed in my small hometown. I wasn’t even sure what people at a recruiting firm did.

I arrived at a professional office where the salespeople looked like they were going out for an interview themselves. Check off No. 1 on my list of my ingredients: professional atmosphere.

I asked about hours and was told I could work the hours necessary to be successful. Some of the recruiters on staff only worked four days a week. Check off No. 2 on my list: flexible in schedule.

What about salary? Yes, the firm offered a draw against commission. If a recruiter did well, earning six figures was possible. Bingo on No. 3: unlimited income potential.

Finding people jobs and interviews took care of Nos. 4, 5, and 6 on my list: opportunity to help people; use of my communication skills; and environment in which I’d feel productive.

What about No. 7, 15 minutes from my home? Well, I had to give up that ingredient to get the others. Depending on traffic, this career move required a 35- to 60-minute drive from my home.

I had no idea if this was the career of my dreams. In fact, when the person interviewing me asked if I thought I would be good at this recruiting job (I’m sure he wanted me to sell myself), I said I didn’t know. Truthfully, all I knew was that it had the ingredients I’d set out to attain.

Within a couple of months, I was the top producer at the firm. I’m not saying this to brag. I’m telling you because the process of matching my ingredients with a job was painful. But it paid off in the end.

The process required me to ask myself questions, ask again, and then ask again to discover my “needs,” “desires,” “passions,” “skills,” and more. In fact, that’s how I developed the purposeful questionnaires you’ll find in my book. I wish I’d had these questions to refer to when I was first looking. I would have found my career path much faster.

Today, I am an author, professional speaker, and consultant doing exactly what I want to do.

It’s funny how my Top 6 ingredients are still the same:

1.   Professional atmosphere

2.   Flexibility in schedule

3.   Unlimited income potential

4.   Opportunity to help people

5.   Use of my communication skills

6.   Environment in which I’d feel productive

When it comes to No. 7, location, I’ve created my missing piece. I now work from home.

The moral of my story is one that applies to everyone: You have to know yourself, your needs, passions, and desires before you can find your perfect career.

You have to know your ingredients.

Patricia Noel Drain is an author, professional speaker, and consultant. She can be contacted via her website,

More SMW Career Advice

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