Find Your Passion: The Missing University Course

I’d like to draw the attention of some enterprising entrepreneur/se out there: I have a niche market that needs attention, badly.

When I was in the midst of completing my degree at Queen’s University, I was highly aware of my complete ignorance of the working world post-post-secondary education.  I was lucky enough to attend a grad fair two years in a row to discuss what would become my post-graduate diploma program with the coordinator himself, but others are not so fortunate.  What do you do when you want to do everything?

There are many tools out there to help you decide what you are good at, what your interests are, what your learning and working styles are, and even conflict resolution styles.  If you don’t know any of these things, go on and investigate; there are a lot of programs, people, and quizzes to help you.  But what if you know all these things already?  This doesn’t mean you know what your calling is.  Gone are the days where a person needs to decide what their career of 30 years will be; welcome to the world of the multi-talented worker.

What did you expect, in a society where it has become common to send kids to a myriad of after-school activities accessible to nearly all children whose parents can afford it?  Now, these children have grown up, knowing they enjoy piano and not basketball, painting and not singing.  These grown-ups have a taste of culture, and they don’t want to give it up.  No wonder it’s hard to find someone intent on becoming a family general practitioner or other non-specialized careers!  Where jobs become more specialized, it removes those interesting sections from the general overarching employment duties.  This is just my little theory, so stay with me here.  Why would someone want to commit to a profession that didn’t show potential for expanding their horizons, when that’s the goal that’s been preached to them all their lives?

Students need more guidance than using a stupid Myers-Briggs test.  No offense, but really, there needs to be a test to determine passion, to measure sustainability of that passion, and that will indicate whether someone will be a committed worker moving up (or sideways) in the same position until they retire, or if they can expect to change careers multiple times in their life.  It’s an approach I doubt many career centres pay much attention to; graduating in this society seems exclusively to push you towards a specialized career — not a recognition of the set of skills you can use as you choose.  If, however, they were told they can expect to change careers several times in their life, the pressure for choosing the perfect job is suddenly off.

You might not remember how much, but students stress a lot about their life after school.  They stress about the career they’ve “chosen”, as if they committed to an arranged marriage before even getting acquainted.  By at least the third year of university, parents, profs, and friends of the students want to hear they have a plan, in which they expect a career title, and sometimes an action plan of how to get employed once their education is complete.  I’d just like to point out there are flaws with these expectations.  When going to a buffet, do you ask your children to pick one item and stick with it throughout their meal, even if maybe it wasn’t very good?  Why, with all the options, place restrictions on number of choices?  The same goes for careers….. only there are probably a billion different careers out there, and you’d be asking them to choose one for the rest of their life — even more ridiculous, if you ask me.

So, what is the business plan?  A company that partners with multiple local businesses to build a database of employment options, where students pay a nominal fee to have their passions assessed and paired with potentially interesting career options.  The appropriate companies would be contacted, and students would have the opportunity to be escorted around the workplace by the, let’s say, Passion Sherpas (!), who would be trained to keep from interfering with the working environment, but could allow employee interaction if the company was fine with it.  Okay, so mostly this would be a public service, but there could be ways to encourage company participation, namely exposure to soon-to-be grads they might be interested in hiring at a later date.

Anyway, that’s just my idea.  Take Your Kids to Work Day, but on a larger, and more grown-up, scale.

I just think something needs to be done for the students who may be extremely multi-talented but indecisive, or reluctant to give up on all of their passions at once.