We all want a job we love so much that it doesn’t feel like work. But getting there is a journey through which we need to learn, adapt, and discover how we can connect our passion to a reliable income.
The Director of the Center for Life/Work Strategies, Sarah Spicci, suggests a few topics professionals should consider when trying to ignite their career passion:
What are you known for? What would colleagues and former employers say about you?
How do your skills and experience translate into a new industry or profession? Can you sell yourself and your skill set to a potential employer?
Are you accessible? Can people depend on you? Do you focus on being interested versus interesting?
Ask questions. Attend events and meetings in an area that appeals to you. Volunteer. Stick a toe in the water before diving in.
Are you able to adapt to changing environments? Can you compartmentalize and portray optimism and humor during challenging times?
All these criteria can help one move swiftly in a new career direction; however, they can also pigeonhole people into specific categories. With a little resiliency, some new relationships, and plenty of research, one can begin to alter his or her reputation and move in a more favorable career direction.
Diana Wong, Social Media Coordinator, San Diego Workforce Partnership Metro Career Centers
For one UC San Diego Extension student who loves helping people, a job in social media was able to feed her passion for teaching others. Diana Wong is making strides in her career, with a current position as a social media coordinator for the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SWDP) One-Stop Career Centers. While social media marketing isn't quite the same as social work or counseling, which is Diana’s formal training, she learned to adapt her skills and expertise to the marketplace to find a rewarding and relevant career.
She began her career working for various nonprofit organizations with jobs centered around advising and career counseling. As she moved into each new position, she learned new skills, gained a new perspective, and connected to clients she took so much pride in helping.
Two years ago, Diana landed a job with the San Diego Metro Career Center as a career adviser who helps people transition to employment. Upon joining the team of career advisers, Diana was offered the opportunity to go through UC San Diego Extension’s Career Advising program, which was developed specifically for professionals in her position. She was grateful for the professional development provided by her employer as well as the connections she made with like-minded peers from the San Diego region and throughout the nation. As a component of the program’s capstone course, Diana gained new skills in leveraging social media, especially LinkedIn, in a job search and throughout one's career. She then shared this valuable information with her clients to help them find employment faster.
Diana was soon promoted to internal client coordinator, where her position was primarily serving internal customers. She missed the connection to her clients, but was learning new accounting and finance procedures and examining internal operations. When a position opened up for social media coordinator, Diana moved right into the job thanks to her well-rounded experience and skillfulness in managing social media platforms.
She now incorporates all facets of her experience into her current job. Diana not only runs the social media marketing efforts for the San Diego Metro Career Centers, but also trains clients on best practices in creating their online presence.
While Diana’s career path and education has taken her in a zigzag of directions, Diana has learned to be resilient, to adapt to the market, sharpen her skills, stay on top of her profession, and find her passion throughout each and every turn.