It’s something I’ve heard a lot of people say when they are looking at moving on from a job. But I’ve noticed it’s especially prevalent amongst teachers. Many seem convinced that a career in education doesn’t equip them for much else. Just the other week I was speaking to an Assistant Principal who couldn’t think of any transferable skills. It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times and sighed when no answer has come to mind.
A month ago I came across a model in an audio book I was listening to that suggested a matrix from which to look at our passions and skills to direct our lives. The book was ‘Think Like a Monk’ by Jay Shetty and the model appealed to me because it didn’t try and sell me a load of woo woo that our calling was stamped on us at birth and we just had to find it, that there was just one thing we were sent on earth to do and we needed to figure out what with no sign of where to look. Below is the model that is proposed by Jay:
See I think often when people wonder what else they can do they are imagining transporting themselves exactly as they are to a different environment and that rarely works. We have to imagine who we can become if we pursue our passions. So let’s take a look at these 4 quadrants one by one.
No skill, No passion
The people you usually see in this area are graduates or school leavers still trying on different jobs for size trying to figure out what brings them alive or at least sparks their interest. Sometimes you’ve gotta have a lot of these jobs to figure out what you do want. Many people think they are here but often are overlooking their skills so would actually be in the ‘Skilled but not passionate ‘quadrant.
No skill and Passion
More of us should spend our time here. But as we get older we feel less comfortable spending time in the unknown. When was the last time you tried something new? These things that we feel passionate about are often things we gave up on when we ‘grew up.’ That instrument, the desire to paint, draw whatever it may be. We have three options in this area when it comes to passion. Kill it and don’t pay any attention to it, but I think a part of you will be lost too. Pursue it as your hobby, paint who cares what it looks like just enjoy the process. Or sharpen your skills so you can develop it enough to monetise it. Be warned sometimes the pressure of monetising this passion can kill the passion itself, or you may want to pursue it as a side hustle to try it on for size.
Skill, no passion
Unfortunately this is where many Senior leaders find themselves later into their career. They joined with a passion for teaching, engineering, design and find themselves being business managers. Able to do it without a doubt. But passionate perhaps not. Many find the passion behind it by aligning with purpose, particularly if the company has a strong ethical drive. However some don’t. This is where you need to figure out what is killing your passion. Is it the job. Take a look at the job description or keep a log of where you spend your time, do you enjoy any of the tasks or should you be looking at pursuing a different career? If it’s the organisation or the people then is it just a case of moving company?
Skill and Passion
Many of us feel this in professions such as teaching, medicine, nursing etc.. our passion comes from wanting to help young people. The cause calls us. But it’s ok to want to move on. We can develop new skills and find new passions. Research from the Department for Work and Pensions predicts that the average adult will have 5-8 different careers in the future, not jobs careers. We’re allowed to get bored and want to develop in different ways. You can have more than one career in this quadrant.
The problem: too many of us want to jump from Skill no passion to Skill and Passion without going through a period of being unskilled, being novices again. We’ve spent too long knowing what we are doing to cope with the insecurity of no knowing, not doing things perfectly. We need to spend more time here. Yes we need to think about the financial implications. I would advise to pursue something new or an old passion as a hobby first, then maybe a side hustle then move to it as much as possible if you still love it. But spending time on things that we are passionate is where the magic lies. But that magic doesn’t have to be in one place for all of your life.