In 2015, I left my job in the financial industry and packed up my entire life – leaving behind a city, (ex) boyfriend, and friends that I loved – and moved from Washington D.C. to Seattle to study nutrition at the University of Washington. Did I move with anyone? No. Did I have family in Seattle? No. Did I have friends in Seattle? Not many! But that was all part of the adventure – an opportunity to pave a new life and embark on a journey of self-discovery.
Fast forward to fall 2017: I graduated, passed the RD exam, and accepted my dream job at one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals, working as a Clinical Pediatric Dietitian specializing in Adolescent Health, Wellness, and Eating Disorders/Disordered Eating. *Pinch me*
I recognize that I am a rare example of someone who loves what they do. My work has brought me to tears – for many reasons – and a sense of fulfillment that I was unable to reach in my previous career. My career switch wasn’t about the money (believe me). But the money isn’t and wasn’t enough. And in our age of materialism and consumerism, I found myself comparing myself to my peers who were purchasing new cars, new homes, taking extravagant international vacations, and planning their weddings. And in the midst of the most trying periods of this journey, I occasionally questioned my decision to switch careers. But what kept me moving forward? I was willing to struggle for it.
And I very intentionally used the word “struggle,” inspired by my latest bookclub read, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. One of the messages in the book that particularly resonated with me was the idea of goal-setting. Rather than saying, “I want to reach “X” goal”, author Mark Manson encourages readers to reframe their dreams as, “What am I willing to struggle for?”
And framed in another way: how much are YOU willing to struggle in order to land your dream job?
For me, the journey was arduous, emotional, trying, and frankly, exhausting. I spent four years working late into the evenings, most weekends, opting out of happy hours, dinners, vacations, weddings, and birthday celebrations. I stressed over financial stability, took out student loans, prioritized networking, and navigated life with minimal healthcare coverage. But I actively chose these struggles. Why? Because I was driven by passion.
So for those of you wondering, “how do I land my dream job?” The first step is to ask yourself: what am I passionate about?
Because we’re willing to struggle for something we feel passionate about.
Because passion trumps comfort zone.
And when we leave our comfort zones, we don’t settle.
Passion is what compels you to quit your dayjob. It drives you to let go of a stable income in the hopes of making it work – and believe me, you WILL make it work if you want it enough. You’ll network – incessantly – to meet the people who are going to help you get your dream job. And when you do make the right connections, your interest in the topic/subject will **shine** out of you. Passionate energy is contagious – and impossible to hide. Believe me, I’ve worked with enough prospective students – and people in general – to be able to recognize passion. And you know what? Managers hire the passionate ones. The ones who want to learn and excel in their roles because of intrinsic motivation. Passion will drive you to make sacrifices, take chances, and fight, tirelessly, for what you want.
So how did I get my job?
It was combination of luck, timing, hard work, and professional connections. While in graduate school, I also completed the LEAH Fellowship. It was there that I received additional education in adolescent health, and had the opportunity to connect with leadership at the hospital. I also loved my time at the hospital, and made sure to communicate how I strongly I felt about the environment and patient population. Shortly after I graduated, a job opened up in the clinic where I completed my fellowship/dietetic internship and I applied (and was offered) the position. The timing worked out well, but I had also already put the work into establishing good rapport during my fellowship/dietetic internship.
Now that I’m out on the other side, I’m here to remind myself (and most importantly, YOU) that it’s all worth the struggle.
“What we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing and able to sustain to get us to those good feelings.”
- Did anything in this post resonate with you?
- Has anyone read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life?
- Any counterarguments to following your passion?
I’d love to hear!