I was asked this question when I was too young to understood what “being” was, let alone what a career is. Young children, and most adults, simply don’t have enough information to choose a career upfront and know that they will be satisfied with it, yet we’re expected to make this choice early on in our lives and commit to it, with the people that employ us us giving us a strong incentive to do so for long periods of time (the more time you’ve spent focusing on something, the more people will pay you for it). This incentive isn’t necessarily bad, but expectation that we must make this choice so early and without much knowledge is ridiculous.

“Pick something you will enjoy”

How can you know up-front what you will enjoy? Most of our interests and desires are hidden so deep within us that we only discover them after participating in the activity. I had no idea I had a passion for ice skating until I tried it twice. A good friend of mine once showed me a trailer for factorio; I swiftly passed judgement: “a game about trains? I don’t think so” and moved on to what I thought I knew I liked. A few steps forward in the time, I stumbled upon it again and this time tried it. In only a few days I had 600 hours logged on Steam. It wasn’t a grind, I genuinely enjoyed the duck out of the game. I’ve got >1000 hours now, and it the first game I could legitimately say I would put a ring on.

My point: it’s impossible to know what kind of career, type of work, or general life activity you will deeply enjoy before trying it for a reasonable amount of time. Even then, context and environment may still affect your ability to measure your enjoyment or interest in said activity.

What to do then?

If you haven’t started your career, expose yourself to as many people as possible working in different flavours of value creation. Learn what their day-to-day work looks like. This is really important, don’t focus only on the end result, the money they make or the conquests they’ve completed. Focus on what the everday activities are, these are what you’ll actually be spending your life coins on.

If you’re already in a career, try using your current skills in different contexts. For software engineers, build different kinds of products, use it like a brush and paint your mind portrait.

If you’re considering changing careers in order to look for your “passion”, its most likely not neccesary. Contrary to what you may have heard, passion doesn’t come before activity, passion grows from investing time in something that challenges you.