Finding Your Passion

by Mark Gleason

Doing a Collage of Your Interests Can Help You to See New Possibilities

It sounds silly since I’m in the dream job business, but when I was thinking of leaving my boring job at the phone company, I didn’t know what my dream job was either. That was one of the reasons it took me years to quit. I didn’t know what I wanted to do instead. It got to the point where even I couldn’t stand my own whining. Then one day I got an idea. I bought an enormous piece of paper and $100 worth of magazines and newspapers and got on a train to Springfield, Ill. I had no particular interest in the Land of Lincoln; it was the downtime I wanted—eight hours on the train with no phone, no TV, nothing from real life demanding my attention. I spent the time doing what I hadn’t done since kindergarten, cutting out pictures that appealed to me and pasting them onto the paper. When I was done, I had a giant collage of travel, animals, food, buildings, fitness and the arts.

A Portrait of ‘Me’

I sat back and examined it almost as if another person had done it. It was a portrait of me: all the pictures were of things that gave me pleasure, things I wanted in life, things that in some ways defined me to myself. The next day the train pulled back into Chicago and I folded the collage and tucked it in my suitcase. It hadn’t told me what kind of job I wanted, but it had opened a door. It had reminded me that there were things in the world I loved and that any one of those areas would provide a job with greater meaning. Eventually I found work that incorporated almost every one of them.

Doing a collage is just one way of getting in touch with passions deep inside you. Another way might be doing online searches based on your avocational interests, or “going back to school” by reviewing college catalogs for signs of interests that have gone dormant.

Brian Kurth is founder and president of VocationVacations, a firm that arranges a few “vacation” days on the job—on your dream job, that is—in a real company or organization, so you can get a firsthand feel for a profession that you’ve been considering. He also is the author of Test-Drive Your Dream Job: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding and Creating the Work You Love, from which this piece was adapted. Copyright © 2008 Brian Kurth. Reprinted by permission of Business Plus, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY. All rights reserved. To learn more, visit Or purchase an autographed copy of his book.


by Mark Gleason | Saturday, May 23, 2009 | Career Change

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