Jewish World Review Jan. 15, 2003 / 12 Shevat, 5763

Marty Nemko

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Consumer Reports

Passion Finder | So you want a career you can feel passionate about? You want to jump out of bed in the morning? Scan this list. Are any of the categories or careers YOU?

Prestige-Driven. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, politicians, bankers, executives, and school administrators are often motivated by prestige.

Word-Driven. Many magazine editors, lawyers, professors, talk show hosts, sports announcers, journalists, freelance writers, novelists, librarians, and speechwriters love working with words.

People-Driven. Many politicians, salespeople, teachers, corporate/government/non-profit managers and executives, genetic counselors, law enforcement personnel, sports/literary/artist's agents, mediators, and personal coaches love working with people.

Driven to Create. Many screenwriters, jewelry makers, musicians, car customizers, web designers, computer game programmers clothing or fabric designers, winemaker, photographers, cosmetician, haircutters, home stagers, computer programmers, die makers, animators, cinematographers, interior decorators, landscape designers, and grant proposal writers love the act of creation.

Science/Math-Driven. Many doctors, nurse, winemakers, computer programmers, public health officials, statisticians, financial analysts and engineers are science/math driven.

Driven to Perform. Many motivational speakers, actors, politicians, teachers, trainers, talk show hosts, artistic performers, trial lawyers are passionate about performing.

Driven to Investigate. Many scientists, journalists, librarians, social science researchers, detectives or criminalists, writers, professors, program evaluators, and forensic accountants such as IRS agents, love the process of investigation.

Cause-driven. Many health care professionals, social workers, teachers, non-profit lobbyists, counselors and coaches, dieticians, fundraisers, policymakers, doulas, and adoption specialists love working for a cause they believe in.

Adrenaline-Addicted. These people crave competition and pressure. Examples: stock brokers, bond traders, paramedics, stunt people, event planners, chefs, small business owners, police officers, debt collections specialists.

Money-Driven. Examples: Insurance salespeople, lawyers, stock portfolio managers.

Driven by Glamour. Fashion show coordinators, casting directors, gossip columnists, celebrity photographers, celebrity personal assistants.

Driven by a work environment. Arborists, landscape designers, farmers, anyone enjoying working in a fancy office building or an college campus, jobs in the wilderness such as field biologist or park ranger, ship captains.

Driven by love of an object. For example, rose breeders, farriers, pyrotechnicians, pet groomers, guitar makers, pilots, bookbinders, cabinetmakers, art importers.

Driven by autonomy. These people are often business owners or artists. The surest route to success is to clone an already proven business and place it in a different location. You're especially likely to succeed if it's a simple business with low start-up costs and high profit margins, for example, owning espresso carts that you'd place next to busy train stations.

Driven to work with your hands. Many robot or computer repairpersons, antique restorers, countertop installers, and electricians enjoy working with their hands.


  • You get animated when talking about what?

  • Do you have a knack for something unusual? For example, some people can write well and very quickly. Others stay calm under enormous pressure. Others could sell guns to pacifists. Still others are magicians when making things out of wood?

  • If you do have a core skill or ability, where would you be excited to use it?

  • Is there a tool you love to use? It could, for example, be a computer, a sewing machine, or a microscope. Even books can be considered tools.

  • What problems have you solved in which you enjoyed the process? Think of problems you've solved at work and outside of work.


I have a client who earns $100,000 a year selling insurance. He is in good health, has a good wife, and an attractive house. And he's angry. Always angry. If he has to cold call and the caller hangs up on him, he's angry. If the prospect takes too long before saying yes, he's angry. He's missing the one ingredient that makes some people content while others in the same job are miserable: a sense of gratitude. Gratitude that he's healthy, gratitude that he's not living in squalor, gratitude for the opportunity to help solve people's problems, making a good living in the process.

All our glasses can be viewed as half-empty or half-full. Choose half-full and you're halfway home to feeling good about your career and your life.

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JWR contributor Dr. Marty Nemko is a career and education counselor in Oakland, California and hosts "Work With Marty Nemko," Sundays 11 to noon on KALW, 91.7FM. He is co-author of Cool Careers for Dummies. Comment by clicking here.


12/18/02: Curing procrastination
12/12/02: The World's Shortest Course on Self-Employment
12/05/02: Men as Beasts of Burden
11/21/02: Beware of going back to school

© 2002, Dr. Marty Nemko