- Cory W. Sharp is an intern architect at FEH Design in Des Moines and the current president of the Young Professionals Connection.
People who know what they want to do with their lives, what really fires them up every day they go to work, are lucky.
People who knew it at an early age are the luckiest of the lucky.
I put myself in that second group -- the luckiest of the lucky -- because I knew from the time I could pick up a crayon that I was going to be an architect.
What do you do if you're not that lucky? What do you do if you're a young professional -- or older -- and you haven't found that career path that sparks a real passion in you? Or, what do you do if you thought you were on the right track but have figured out you don't like where you're headed?
First off, chill out. (Play some Foo Fighters, have a beer, go listen to some live music or Keep Calm and Eat a Taco -- those are a few things I do in these situations.) Don't get down on yourself. Life is about trial and error. Sometimes you have to see for yourself what you don't want to do before you know what you do want to do.
Second, do something. Don’t make excuses. Don't resign yourself to keep doing something you don't love deep down to your core. We all have to do things we don't like sometimes, but don't keep dragging yourself to a job you hate for any reason. I can't think of many things that will kill your passion faster than that.
So how do you find your passion?
Talk to people you know and ask them -- especially those who are really passionate about their work -- why they love doing what they do and what they think you'd be good at. Listening to advice is good; nothing says you have to take it. Especially if you think someone is trying to pressure you to be something you're not or to do something you don't want to do.
Making sure you have off-work passions is another great way to keep you pumped up about your profession. Des Moines has so many awesome recreational opportunities and groups to get involved with that there's bound to be something for everyone.
If you haven't been out of college long, you may not be feel like taking another test, but that might be the smartest thing you can do. You can find your passion by taking any number of aptitude tests that will either reinforce your thinking or point you in a whole new direction.
When it comes time to look for a job, look for someone who has the same values you have -- and the passion you want to have.
Whatever you do, think big, dream big and make something big happen for you. And, start now.