1. Same old routine…
It’s 6am. How do you know? You’re alarm clock just told you so. Time to leave the warm comfort of that down blanket and begin your morning routine. You work out, or maybe enjoy a nice breakfast. Maybe you’re scrambling to the shower and out the door in 15 minutes if you’re really passionate about those last few bits of sleep. You make your way to your car, bus, or train and begin your commute. Soon you begin daydreaming about your day at work. You already know that you have about 20 boring, emotionless emails in your inbox, or there might be 3 voicemails waiting for your ear. By noon, you’re counting down the hours until you can leave and get home to that portrait you’re painting, or the camera on your desk waiting to be used. If your hobbies, passions, and “after-work activities” are what drive you through your work day, it might be a good idea to think about why this is occurring. How can you incorporate this passion into your day to day life even further? What steps can you take to implement these activities during your work day? I promise, once you realize how you can turn these passions into your “job” or career, you’ll be surprised at how effortlessly life will become, and how fulfilled you will be.
However, if you truly enjoy every last moment of what you do on a day to day basis, and that in itself is fulfilling your soul, you my friend are very lucky and should cherish that opportunity.
2. You daydream of doing something else while at your “day job”
You get to your desk, cubicle, or office each morning. What’s the first thing you do? Maybe it’s hunkering down and getting through your emails as quickly as possible, getting caught up with the weeks projects or tasks. It’s around 11, and you begin looking forward to lunch. How do you spend your lunch break? Maybe it’s collaborating or catching up with co-workers, or going out to try the new restaurant a block from your office. Once you’re back, the feeling sinks in. You still have 3-5 more hours to put in before you're on your way home, back to the comforts of your couch. Do you find yourself constantly thinking “what if”? What if you turned your part time activities that you are truly driven by or look forward to into a full time job? How would you do this? Is this even possible? What if you fail at it? If these thoughts are running through your head, you’re not alone! The hardest part about diving into your passion is the fear of failing at it.
I encourage you to take a few deep breaths one day, and imagine the perfect work day, involving a career or passion that truly fulfills you. Walk yourself through a perfect day of work involving what you truly love doing, and then figure out how to get yourself there. What are the first steps? Finally, map out a game plan and go for it, no matter how daunting the idea might seem! The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to convince yourself anything is possible.
3. Your hobbies are what you are truly passionate about
Is that painting you're working on at home the only motivation you have against the ticking of your cubicle clock, each second that goes by leading you to another place, a world not many others may know about? Are you embarrassed or nervous thinking about the possibility of turning this into a full time career? Where would you even begin? If thoughts like these persist inside you, it might be time to dig deeper. The dictionary defines hobby as something done in ones leisure time, for pleasure. However, if you’ve ever thought about the idea of turning your hobby into something more, don’t be afraid! Do the research, find out if it’s possible, weigh some pros and cons of a career switch, and finally, be open minded. You never know what may be possible.
4. You're jealous
So you’re glued to a screen 9 hours a day. You scroll through a few social media feeds during your time on the clock (as anyone does for a small break from the days to-do list). You notice an old friend’s just posted a status that they are making the plunge, moving to a new country, city or place (usually on a whim or with minimal prior notice to the outside world). How do you feel? Jealous? Joyful that they have this opportunity? Afraid of what would happen if you were to perhaps, follow in their footsteps? How would your friends react? What would they think of you? If you become jealous, longing to do something ambitious with your own life but are fearful and convinced the farthest you’ll get to any exciting place is through a television monitor—think again. This person is or was in the same boat as you at one point. Most people find a stable living soon after college, become comfortable, settled, and set in their ways. Quite honestly, it is rare for those people to stick to that same career or position for the rest of their lives. Don’t be afraid if what you do on a day to day basis isn’t fulfilling you or your passions. You are not alone.
5. You’re content
This is the toughest sign to move past. You’re in your first real career position, making a steady (maybe even large) pay check. Everything in the world is going pretty swell for you, but deep down a few years later you begin thinking about switching paths. The only thing I will say here is this: when you wake up at 50, are you going to regret not doing something about it?