People tend to confuse career with job. I see career as a path that can manifest in many jobs.

Career conversations are heavy. If one spends half the waking hours on work, it might as well be something bearable. Or better, something we are passionate about.

What is your passion?

I have noticed that in most of social conversations among Asians, the first question after introductions and exchanges of pleasantry is usually – what do you do for a living?

Why aren’t we asking each others – what is your passion?

Our job/title doesn’t define us, what we love is a better indication of who we are as a person. Shouldn’t it provide the potential bearing for what we pursue in our life?

Discovering my passions

I first discovered computer programming during my secondary school days. Programming language was wonderful because it allowed me to create lines that moves and spins, and create things on the computer screen.

I became a computer science student during my junior college but switched path to study business at university. The business school allowed me to pursue my interest for psychology, consumer behavior and creative ideation.

During the third year of my university, I sat in on a presentation by an advertising agency where they shared how they had sent trays of eggs to travel agencies to convey that Air Canada handles with care. I knew back then that’s what want to do for a living.

Eggs that launched my career

Well, I didn’t really end up delivering eggs, but I did spend the first 18 years of my career in the ad industry. It had been fun even though there were a lot of hard work and late nights.

I eventually joined the retail industry where I built teams and capabilities, and created milestones in branding and marketing.

While the job descriptions and designations changed over the years, the common thread across all jobs have been about creating things/ideas/teams with some flairs in aesthetics.

It’s clear that my choices in work and pursuits have been closely aligned to what I love. I love words and pictures and I love creative things. Looking back, I think my initial excitement with computer science was fueled by my love for mathematics and its ability to create experiences.

The “career” questions

Recently, my daughter has started to think about what she should pursue for her tertiary education.

Our conversation started with these questions:

  • what are your strengths
  • what are your passions

Imagine them as two circles and where it overlaps, there lies your sweet spot.

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