Changing Careers Might Help You Find Passion for Work

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What’s the point? What’s it all for? Where’s my life going? When do I get there? Is this all there is? What do I really want to do?

When these are the questions that keep you up at night, you call a man named Curt Rosengren.

Rosengren calls himself a “passion catalyst.” He’s a Seattle-based career counselor who works with up to 50 clients a year, 100% of whom wind up switching careers. He also runs a web site called PassionCatalyst.com, a popular blog called TheOccupationalAdventure, and he’s just kicked off a newsletter tackling the same subject.

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Every last one of career guide Curt Rosengren’s clients wind up switching careers. / Courtesy of Curt Rosengren

We had a long talk a little while ago about why people change careers, and what that says about why we work (I wrote about it in the current issue of TIME in an article titled The Zeal for the Job). He says:

“Over the past four or five years, I really started seeing this notion taking off–this idea of wanting, needing to find passion in what you do. There were two catalysts. One is the dot-com boom and bust. People just had this idea they were going to get rich, and they went into the tech industry and worked 80 hours a week–and then the bubble burst. They were like, What did I do all that for? That wasn’t what I signed up for. I rolled my dice and lost. So what is it I really want to do?

“Then there was 9/11. It was this big, huge shock–just an enormous shock wave through people’s lives. What am I doing? How am I spending my days? How am I spending my life? …one of the things tragedy does for us is it makes us stop and reflect.”

Those two seismic events, he theorizes, created a “perfect storm” that “started to create this unwillingness to put up with being unhappy.”

It was true for him. Once a successful but stressed out marketer, Rosengren stopped short one day and asked himself why. “I realized, Curt, you’re on the fast track, all right–to becoming Dilbert.”

So he took the leap. He quit his job, hung out a shingle and reinvented himself. When I spoke to him today, he was recovering from his regular Thursday night of dancing and was preparing to go kayaking. He’s just launched a blog called HappyRant, which apparently is just that.

Why does Curt work? To trigger change in other people’s lives, and thus find joy and meaning in his own. Why do you?

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