Complete the Head & Heart Leader Scale™ and receive a free, personalised report here.

Got a Minute?

Home | Got a Minute | Career advice | No. 14 – I don’t feel passion for my job. How do I find one that ticks the boxes?

No. 14 – I don’t feel passion for my job. How do I find one that ticks the boxes?

Share this aticle

2 June 2021

Each week, Dr Kirstin Ferguson tackles questions on the workplace, career and leadership in her advice column “Got a minute?” This week, finding passion in your career, breaking the ceiling as an Asian-Australian, and dealing with misleading job advertisments.

I have never been particularly interested or passionate about my job or career. After recently changing industries, I still feel very lost. Should I just learn to accept that I am probably never going to find passion in what I do for work or should I keep changing until I find that ‘magic’ job that ticks all the boxes?

I can really hear how keen you are to discover your purpose and to find something more than simply turning up to work. Sometimes finding that perfect job for you can happen accidentally; for some they have just always known. I do believe that you will be able to find work you can feel passionate about or at the very least, interested in. But before you do, you need to work out what it is that you really love. Without any limits, what kind of job do you lay in bed at night imagining would be the best possible job for you?

Have a think about things in your life that you get excited about – maybe a hobby or something you have only ever dreamt of pursuing. It might also be a particular way of working you love – working with people, creating things or being outside. What does your perfect role look like?

Once you identify what ignites a spark for you, then you need to work out a way to integrate that passion into your professional life. That may mean thinking laterally about how you can find ways to be paid but I guarantee you, when you do find what brings you joy you will do much better at it than any job where you simply turn up for each day.

I am an Asian-Australian woman working for a large corporate company. I’m currently in a mid-senior level and looking at higher levels of management but it is dominated by males and some females, and all Caucasians. I don’t see anyone retiring in the next few years. How can I break the ceiling?

As you identify, the bamboo ceiling you mention – a phrase coined for the many factors preventing career progress for those with Asian heritage – is sadly alive and well. And as an Asian-Australian woman, you are also contending with the intersectionality of your race and gender. I would love to give you a sledge hammer to smash that ceiling since right now, even though Asian-Australians comprise 12 per cent of our population, they only hold around 3 per cent of senior leadership positions in public institutions and ASX200 companies. Add being female to that statistic and the numbers are simply shameful.

Employers and leaders need to fix this, not you. I am sure you are already doing as much, if not more, than your colleagues to develop and network in your role. As Catherine Fox says in her book Stop Fixing Women, it is the system that is broken.

While you wait for the system to change, you might like to speak with your boss about your goals for promotion and ask them what they expect to see from you specifically, for that to happen. If you don’t see any progress or any commitment to helping you succeed, have a think about changing jobs to find somewhere that values you for what you bring, just as you are. There are plenty of companies out there that will be grateful for your leadership around the table.

The job I applied for and was offered turns out to be completely different to the one that was advertised. I am worried that they were being deliberately misleading, but I don’t have any evidence of how. What are my rights and responsibilities?

Bottom line, if you are at the point where you think your potential employer is in the business of misleading their own employees (let alone anyone else), I would make a run for it. The workplace culture is likely to reflect these kinds of issues once you start working with them so I would think twice about taking the job.

Send your questions about work, careers and leadership to Your name and any identifying information will not be used. Letters may be edited.

Link to original

Share this aticle
Got a Minute

Ask a Question

You can submit your own question anonymously.

Read Got a Minute

Every Wednesday since 2021, Kirstin has written a hugely popular column in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age answering curly questions from readers on work, leadership and careers. 

Latest Got a Minute

Stay in touch

Join many thousands around the world who have subscribed to Dr Kirstin Ferguson’s free weekly newsletter, Impact Loop.

As a bonus, you will receive the introduction to her award-winning and bestselling book, Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership, to download for free.
©2023 Kirstin Ferguson Pty Ltd
Privacy Policy