Maureen Anderson on Finding the Work You Love

Maureen AndersonThe following is a guest post by Maureen Anderson, author of The Career Clinic, on finding your true passion.

A marketing professional who’d been out of work for three years sat down at his computer with his morning coffee to do more job hunting online. His wife, who’d stayed up late the night before reading The Career Clinic: Eight Simple Rules for Finding Work You Love, decided she’d had enough. “Turn off the (insert lively adjective here) computer,” she told him as she dropped the book on his lap. “We’re doing this the wrong way.”

That’s one of the delights of being the author of The Career Clinic, hearing from readers who are inspired to make big changes because of it.

The book profiles fifty inspiring people, and I’m often asked what my favorite story is. You might think my answer would be that every story’s my favorite–that choosing among them is to betray all the others. And you’d be wrong. I do have a favorite career changer, and his name is Malcolm Bryan.

Bryan knew when he was twenty he wanted to be an artist, but was told he couldn’t make a living at it. So he sold out, temporarily. He became a successful air freight forwarder. But before he embarked on the life other people approved of, he made a promise to himself. No matter what he was doing at age forty-five, he would quit and become an oil painter.

He kept that promise. Twenty-five years later! I can’t remember the last afternoon I finished something I set out to do only that morning. But Malcolm Bryan did, after twenty-five years, and he’s one of the happiest people I know.

Another favorite career changer–okay, so it is difficult to choose–was a librarian in New York City until a health scare inspired her lifestyle change. Mary Jane Ballou moved to Florida and now plays the harp for a living. “It’s scary to overhaul your life,” she says, “and anyone who tells you it isn’t is a liar.” When Ballou got really afraid she’d make a list of little things she could do to advance her dream: “Make one phone call, send two e-mails, whatever.” When she was so hysterical she couldn’t even make a list, she scrubbed her bathroom. “It’s hard to worry really successfully when you’re cleaning,” she says. Afterward she was probably not one step closer to her dream: “But at least I had a clean bathroom.”

Successful career changers aren’t afraid to dream big. They know that passion is the fuel for what will likely be an exhausting, though fulfilling, ride.

Why do so many of us resign ourselves to boring jobs–or lives–and rely on celebrity magazines or movie rentals when we crave a good story?

The people in The Career Clinic don’t settle. They have spunk. They don’t get to a certain point in their lives and think, “Well, maybe this is it for me.” They keep reaching, and they want you to keep reaching.

Here’s wishing you a great story.

Maureen Anderson is an award-winning journalist and the host of The Career Clinic® radio talk show. The Career Clinic: Eight Simple Rules for Finding Work You Love is her third book. Her articles and essays have appeared in publications ranging from Radio World to Spirituality & Health. You can learn more about her work at

Stay tuned for Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D. on using visualization on the job hunt tomorrow.


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