Pursuing Your Passion


Everyone has a thing. Maybe it’s singing, or photography or blogging about food. Your passion is what helps you make it through the day and can help give meaning to life. One of the best things in the world is when you can pursue your passion at your 9-5. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

In order to find out a little bit more about integrating your passion and your career, GovLoop’s Emily Jarvis sat down with Daron Roberts, Former NFL Coach and Founding Director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at the UTE Office.

In addition to being a life coach, Roberts is also the author of “Call an Audible,” a book that dives into how to successfully transition from one phase to the next in your career. While oftentimes this is a seamless lateral transition, you may find yourself in a position where you want to switch career tracks completely.

When this happens, Roberts recommended taking some time to really understand what makes you tick as a person. “You need to ask yourself, do I like to write, do I like to speak, do I like small teams, or large teams, can I work under tight deadlines, do I prefer autonomy or do I need a lot of supervision,” he explained. “Checking off those boxes from a functional standpoint helps us to filter the different positions and jobs out there through this set of functions and see what that looks like.”

From a government perspective, it is important to understand what your role is within a mission and decide if that is enough to sustain and motivate you. Roberts explained that his first job out of college was as an aide to Senator Lieberman. “In the government we oftentimes get very enamored with personalities and missions but once we get inside of the building, you start to realize that in reality you are probably going to be working on a very small subset of the bigger problem you want to solve,” he said. It is critical to identify if the daily minutia of a job is going to satisfy you enough to continue doing that job.

While this is often a tough question for people to answer, many have answered no and have looked elsewhere for professional satisfaction. However, sometimes fulfillment is calling your name from the other direction on the GS ladder. While going back down a pay grade is often seen as a bad career move, Roberts assured that doing so is not always a loss. “If it’s compelling enough work, I think you have to see it as a short term loss but an overall win in the end,” he explained. Going to work every day and loving your job and making the impact you want can often times be worth the pay cut.

So how do you get from your current position to your dream position? Roberts advised that there is no substitute for rigorous due diligence. Whether it is a fact finding mission or getting coffee and sitting down with someone who has the position that you want, you need to be able to get a clear grasp on if the career move is something you really want to do.

However, maybe you are on the other end of the spectrum and know that you are not being fulfilled at your job but also know that there is no way you can leave it. Roberts assured that this is okay and that there are other ways to invest in passions without taking the risk of leaving stable employment. In order to do this, he recommends starting to explore your passions and hobbies in a structured way outside of work hours. Ultimately, Roberts stressed that you cannot let time get away from you. No matter what your thing is, if you schedule time to pursue it you get the fulfillment you are searching for.

Are you ready to learn how to weave your passion into your job and start moving your career in the direction you want it to go? The NextGen Leadership Development Program is probably for you.  Learn more about what you can get out of the program here.

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