Q. “I’ve been working too long at a job I don’t necessarily love. Is it too late to fine work I’m passionate about?

A. The reason we struggle with figuring out how to monetize our passions is that passions are, by definition, selfish.

  • What do I want to do?
  • What is my passion?
  • I, I, I, me, me, me.

You don’t get paid for simply doing what you want to do. You get paid by utilizing a skill that adds value to — or takes away the pain of — someone other than yourself. That’s how business works.

If you’re truly doing something you despise, I would ask you a few questions:

  • What is it that you are good at, that people might be willing to pay you for?
  • What jobs are available that might be a closer match with your skills and interests? A job may not be a perfect fit, but doing something you’re passionate about as employment may not matter so much if you’re working in an environment that allows you to be the best version of yourself, i.e. working with teams, having a flexible schedule, a short commute, or an opportunity to grow. According to the Journal of Happiness Studies, “The strongest determinants of job satisfaction are relations with colleagues and supervisors, task diversity and job security.”
  • Do you need to be paid to pursue your passion, or do you just want more free time to tackle it?

Only you can decide what you’re willing to sacrifice to chase your passion. But remember, passions can be expressed in many different ways over the course of your life. And in the end, no company is going to pay you to chase your passion; they only pay if the skills you have are valuable to their business.

Bassam Tarazai is a career coach and founder of Colipera (Collective Inspiration, Personal Accountability). Author of The Accountability Effect, he runs goal-setting workshops for companies and universities.