The other day I was chatting with a friend of mine. During the conversation I asked her if she was hoping to retire early. She said, “No way! I love my job too much.” It is a similar response I’ve heard from others. Even when I asked my spouse about his projected retirement date, he said somewhat too sincerely, “I enjoy what I do to much to to retire before I have to.”

Contrast this with someone who hates their job. “Not soon enough!” is the response I hear most often. Have you ever worked in a job where you counted down the hours and minutes until the end of your shift, every day? I have and it wasn’t fun. To work in a job like long term would have sucked the joy right out of my life.

Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of doing work we love in a bad economy. Sometimes we just have to take any job we can. There are many of us who are working in a job that’s just ok. It’s not terrible but it doesn’t fulfill us.

Here are some ways to know you’ve found your passion

  1. Does the time seem to fly while your at work? When you’re doing what you love, you aren’t counting the hours. I have an uncle that works 12 hour days. I asked him how he did such long days, and he said, “It’s so much fun that time goes by so fast I’m surprised when it’s over.”
  2. Do you love talking about what do you? Some people never talk about their work after hours. My brother is one of these. He works to live and has fun during his off hours. It’s not that he hates his job. He’s just done with it by the end of the day and would rather focus on the things he is passionate about after hours. Then there are people whose eyes light up when you ask them a question about their specialty. That’s a sign they’ve found their passion!
  3. Do you feel more energized then drained at the end of a work day? There are tasks in life that drain our energy and tasks that restore our energy. Ideally, when you have found your passion, you’ll be spending about 80% of your time on tasks that give you energy. At the end of the day, with few exceptions, you’ll feel content, fulfilled and energized rather than drained and exhausted.
  4. Does the idea of an early retirement not sound the least bit appealing? There are many people who can’t wait to retire so they can get on living the life of their dreams. Wouldn’t it be amazing to live the life of your dreams and continue to draw a salary from it! When you’ve found your passion, the salary is just the icing on the cake .. the icing that makes an even nicer eventual retirement more likely.

When you do what you love and love what you do, you’ll do it well. Your passion will show through in everything you do. Employers love people who are passionate about their work. Their enthusiasm is contagious and they bring a positive energy to their work environment. They enjoy what they do, do it well and are more often then not the ones who are promoted and become long term successful employees.

Have you found your passion? Do you love love your job? Share with us here how you found work that you enjoy.

Kathryn is a regular contributor on Million Dollar Journey and has a passion for personal finance.  She volunteers her time as a money coach meeting with ordinary Canadians, teaching them the basics of budgeting, no fee banking, saving for the future and other basics of personal finance.


  1. lindahfx on May 27, 2009 at 9:57 am

    I am currently in search of finding my passion and making a career of it. I have lots of interests that aren’t related to my current job (that is ending the next month or so) and I am in the process of a career change. I’m hoping that I can find something that I am passionate about that makes the hours seem like they go by like minutes. But it’s a challenge to do that and try to make enough $$ to live on. A lot of my ideas would not generate much cash flow in the short term. My other concern is that I move to a new career and it turns out that it’s not exactly what I thought it would be. I certainly admire people who have found their passion and are successful in it.

  2. cdc979 on May 27, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I’ve been trying to find something to be passionate about for a long time. Unfortunately for me, I fall into the group of people who hate their job. I know there’s something out there for me…but I just haven’t found it yet. I’m hoping that I find that ‘something’ sooner rather than later :)

  3. Four Pillars on May 27, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I like my job although I’m far from passionate about it.

    I don’t agree that you have to be passionate about something to enjoy it or even just to do it. Work is called ‘work’ for a reason – there’s nothing wrong with slaving away during the day and enjoying your life outside of work.

    Some people waste a lot of energy looking for their ‘perfect job’ – I think if you have a job that works for your situation reasonably well then that might be good enough.

  4. Dividend Growth Investor on May 27, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I also like my job, but I am mostly passionate about investing. Blogging about investing came naturally as well, so I have a passion for blogging about investing as well. I just like that stuff.

  5. M Hawk on May 27, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I also am not sure you have to be absolutely passionate about your job. I’ve recently had this conversation with family members and friends… we realized that as long as you don’t HATE your job, you’re fine. Most people I talked to about it said they don’t love their job, but they don’t hate it, either.

    I had this conversation because i’m going back to school to do a business degree…. I already have a fine arts degree and was originally planning on pursuing the life of an artist. That is, until I realized that making money, while shallow, IS important to do things like eat, and I wasn’t going to get anywhere as a female sculptor.

  6. mojo30 on May 27, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    After almost a year and a half of being off work due to an injury..going back in 3 months, I can say that I never want to have to keep occupied..I would eventually like to work maybe 20-24hrs a week doing what i do now. As far as ‘job’ and ‘passion’ in the same sentence..I dont think it passion is snowboarding but there is nothing that I can do in that as a job, that I can say is passion..riding is a passion but thats not work.

  7. Ryan on May 27, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I am passionate about my job. I am a high school Business teacher. And teach just about anything they want me to. I love my job, I look forward to every day, but I am exhaused at the end of every day. I coach many sports teams after school and it is great, I just took the high school girls hockey team to OFSAA in Toronto this year. That being said I am ready for the summer break.

  8. dalmanca on May 27, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    I am wondering how you can be a money coach like Kathryn? I am interested in helping others with my limited financial knowledge too. And I believe I will learn a lot from this communication at the same time.

  9. reddwarf on May 27, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I’ve soured on my career field over the past few years largely (but not exclusively) due to a micro-managing control freak of a boss. I’ve never had a boss like that before. I’m kind of stuck in this field and in this job due to the high pay and the difficulty getting a similar paying job. I really need the money to get the retirement finances going. Of course that doesn’t mean I’m not going to look around…

  10. Kathryn on May 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Ryan: I love hearing about teachers who are passionate about their work. As a business teacher are you able to run any personal finance courses? I could see these being a huge hit and extremely valuable for high school students.

    dalmanca: Being a money coach is something I do with my volunteer hours. I’d love to be hired full time by a co-corporation helping / coaching employees on the basics of finance and getting out of debt. It’s not something I’d want to charge people for individually. It is something that could be a huge asset to companies whose employees are stressed out about their personal finances and they don’t know the first place to start getting their financial life in order.

    For my regular job I’m in PR and training for a non-profit. I love the training and hope to transition to a job where I can do that full time, either in groups or individually.

  11. Trendy Indy on May 27, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I have decent job that pays well, but if you ask me If I am passionate about what I do, My answer will be no .However, I like the fact that I am learning new things every day and progressing in life.Who knows may be what I do today will turn out to be what I wanted to do all the while. I think we as humans, resist learning, we just have to have open minds and give our 100% to everything we do, and may be during that process we might come out as a winner by discovering our passion in life.

  12. Ms Save Money on May 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I like my job and have fun on some of my projects when they bring results. However, my passion is to travel to different countries and have fun doing lots of different activities so I would not be able to intermingle what I do with my passion. In that sense, it’s not soo much about the passion.

  13. Adam on May 27, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    I think it has more to do with personality types than with having ‘found your passion’

    I thought I found my passion many times over in different avenues of work, what I learned is I get bored very very quickly once I have the work figured out and dialed in.

    Personality type is generally the driver.

  14. Adam on May 27, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    I also thought about what avenues may exist for personal finance coaching, my only real concern was the ability for somebody in financial trouble to be able to pay for the coaching\assistance. Unless it was gov’t subsidized, I just don’t see how it makes any sense.

  15. CD Rates Guy on May 27, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I’m very young and starting my career, but I understand that not all jobs can carry an element of excitement. Let’s say you’re a welder and love what you do, and you own your own welding company. Of course looking at the grand scheme of expanding your business will make you happy, but it’s still tough work that you have to put in everyday.

  16. Kirk S. on May 27, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Re: Ryan,

    As a fellow high school teacher/coach I am glad to hear that I am not the only one tired at the end of a day. I love what I do, but am tired when the day ends. I am a math teacher and try to sneak some personal finance into every course (borrowing money, saving money, investing, credit cards, car loans, etc.).

  17. Clair Schwan of Sensible Small Business Ideas on May 27, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    I’ve always thought that knowing where you’re headed was important. I still think that. It’s also important to stay focused on where you have strength and passion, but recognize that you can have more than one passion. This might lead to multiple careers, which really puts the idea of retirement in a new light.

    If you have a passion for things, can shape those passions into work activities that can take various forms (technical, management, labor, consulting, writing, etc.), can make those work activities pay the bills, and handle the work at your own pace, then there really isn’t a reason to consider retirement in the traditional sense at all.


  18. Ron on May 27, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I enrolled to into a part-time gemmology program just to try it out. As the months passed my interest in it snowballed and by the time I graduated with my Canadian gemmologist diploma, I was ready to jump head first into the industry. I’ve been working doing back end support and appraising in a retail store for the last 1.5 years.

    Do I ‘love’ my job? Not really but I can say that I love the industry. In my opinion, jewelry is one of those industries where you have do it for the love and not for the money because good money is hard to be made.

    Ideally, with my education, I would much rather be working for a diamond company or mineral lab. I think maybe…just maybe my love might turn into a passion.


  19. TStrump on May 28, 2009 at 2:48 am

    I can definitely say I don’t love my job.
    There is nothing more stressful than a quarterly-driven public company.
    But … I do have a plan in the works and it won’t continue forever.

  20. Morgan at TheDebtDance on May 28, 2009 at 7:48 am

    I love what I do now. I have two website businesses and a blog. And I write fiction.
    I think a lot of people assume that if you have found your passion that life will be a breeze. This isn’t the case. Thoughts take work to become reality.
    Someone told me a long time ago:
    “Yeah, it’s great being self employed. You can work half-days. Any 12 hours you want!”

    But at least when you have found what you love the 12 hours are good hours.
    Great post!

  21. cannon_fodder on May 28, 2009 at 7:44 pm


    Very nice article – I read it through a feed and could tell right away that FT didn’t write it!

    Have you thought about teaching at a local community college? You could offer a 6-8 week course on basics of money management, perhaps seeking out students in certain demographics (recent immigrants, recent graduates, recent widows, etc.). It wouldn’t be so much for your personal financial gain but as you said, to help people.

  22. Canadian Finance on May 28, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    I’m pretty happy with my job, sort of accidentally fell into it after college. I have a goal to retire around 60, but if I’m still there and still happy then maybe I would work longer. I figure, if I’m fully set for retirement by 60, every extra year worked is bonus money. Maybe I’ll work one extra year and fund a huge retirement vacation?

  23. Melanie Samson on May 28, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Another high school teacher here. I live for those moments when I realize they’ve learned something and it stuck… it’s not usually obvious, but those little moments keep me going through the days when they seem to be doing everything possible to drive me crazy and through the evenings when I spend hours and hours planning and correcting. I’m exhausted at the end of the day, and I’ve yet to find a pair of shoes that hold up to the amount of pacing I do, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else and I talk about my students constantly.

  24. Ed Rempel on May 28, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Hi Kathryn,

    Good article. We’ve talked with thousands of people about their lives and their money and find that most people did not really choose their career/job. They sort of stumbled through life making one decision at a time for whatever reason and came across some opportunity – and that’s what they are doing now.

    If they love it, that is usually just luck!

    I love my job. My passions are finances (mostly figuring out strategies that work, cool tax ideas, and wise investing) and helping people – and that’s what I do. Even on vacation, I love to read financial books for good ideas, blog about finances, and hang out with friends and try to get to know what really matters to them. Vacation is like work – except at a slower pace.

    I admit work is not perfect. We mainly just work with people we like – but some people can become difficult, some aspects (like paperwork) are not on the fun list, and I won’t always want to work as hard as I do now.

    Most university students know very little about the thousands of possible careers and what they are really like. We always tell them to talk to lots of adults about their careers, what they like and don’t like, what they actually do in a typical day and how fulfilling it is. It is amazing how many careers are not at all like the stereotype.

    I had an entire career as an accountant before getting into financial planning. I went into accounting because I was good at numbers. I worked as an accountant for Simmons (mattresses) and found that I hardly did any math at all. There were staff for that. The job was managing people and cost control in operations. I learned to like it – but it was completely different than what I had expected. Who knew that management accounting had hardly any math?

    It is unfortunate that most people don’t love their work. We spend so much of our lives doing it. I can tell you from experience that the vast majority of people that claim to love their work and keep working past age 65 really only do it because they can’t afford to retire the way they want. They pursuade themselves that they love their work, because they know they have no option.

    Your message, Kathryn, and helping people figure out how to find what they love and learn to love what they do should be a required course in universities.


  25. Kathryn on May 29, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Great comments! Interesting to hear how diverse people’s passions are. I confess, I read finance books on holiday too.

  26. CD Rates Guy on May 29, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Kirk, teachers should be paid the most out of any profession in my opinion. Raise the pay and make it harder to become a teacher and we’ll produce great students and world class leaders/thinkers in no time.

  27. MoneyEnergy on May 30, 2009 at 5:33 am

    This topic is always a difficult one. Four Pillars above has a great point, which, for me, is that “passion” can mean different levels of intensity to different people. And there’s definitely an in-between zone between “loving your work like it’s your passion” and totally dreading it. You might be passionate about certain aspects of your day job, and dread others. Overall I think a gradual approach has to be taken to get from “the day job/career you fell into” and to move into more things you want to do. I don’t think it always falls under a clear-cut label or heading. But I do think inspired action, taken over time, will reveal a clear path that will move you forward.

  28. Nate on June 1, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I’m lucky enough to have a career that I love and don’t really ever planning on retiring from. So I’ve had a tough time figuring out what kind of funds I need to put away for retirement. I’m mostly saving so that my wife can retire, I don’t ever plan to stop working. I will probably just be more picky about projects that I take on and do more freelance work when I’m over 65.

  29. Joe on July 24, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    It took me TEN long years to find out what MY passion was while it took me less than a month to become bored-to-death with my job. I always knew I wanted to do something else but I needed those ten years to see a “clear path” to acquire experience. You should ask yourself : “What am I passionate enough with that I would do for free?” Knowing yourself is the key to uncover the ‘gem’ that is your passion.

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