A work meeting suddenly evolved into a mini-quarter life crisis one afternoon in the office. From the remnants of action plans and timelines sprung a dreaded question: What is your passion?
I have tried to avoid this question since I was conscious of the fact that I needed to be more purposeful in my career. But like an unexpected ketchup stain on a day I wore white pants, I can always tell it’s there no matter how much I try to cover it with the table napkin.
That afternoon, a new hire became interested in my academic and career background and the unusual twists and turns that got me to where I am today. She politely asked what my passions were. Honestly, I blurted out random realizations I had the previous days. They weren’t lies, technically. Looking back, however, they weren’t exactly true either.
When I said something about growing my passion projects and seeing things through, a colleague giggled. Not the newbie. It sounded kind of pompous, I know, and formatted for a job interview. But I wasn’t lying, not exactly.
A weekend ago I was thinking of almost the same thing. I remember telling myself I thrived in growing something out of completely nothing; I enjoyed looking at the leaves of seeds I previously planted on an almost barren land. No, it wasn’t just about project management. Business development perhaps, but still not quite. It is a bit more specific. It has something to do with what I grow specifically.
I recall telling a friend years ago that I enjoyed the film How to Train Your Dragon not only for the animation and the funny dialogue but for how the beginning was brilliantly mirrored in the ending.
This, is Berk. It’s twelve days North of hopeless, and a few degrees South of freezing to death. It’s located solidly on the meridian of misery.
We have fishing, hunting, and a charming view of the sunsets. The only problems are the pests. You see, most places have mice or mosquitoes. We have…
This… is Berk. It snows nine months of the year… and hails the other three. Any food that grows here is tough and tasteless. The people that grow here are even more so. The only upsides are the pets. While other places have…ponies or parrots, we have…
It made sense to me on a personal level. I know there are other better written films out there, but this one was where I understood how important it was to me that the beginning be connected with the ending no matter how jumbled the middle part is. Kind of like life. Nobody ever truly understands the twists and turns while you are in the middle of the twisting and the turning. It makes sense when you see the big picture though. It makes sense in the end when you realize everything you’ve gone through and and how they helped you in the decisions that lead you to that sweet, sweet resolution of your story.
Story. That’s the word I was looking for! Look at my Instagram page and you’ll see every content has a story. Review my first creative portfolio and marvel at how idealistic my visions are (so idealistic I was almost pathetic). Even the marketing decks I make for work has an exposition (what are we talking about), a rising action (what’s the problem), climax (how our portfolio solves your problem), falling action (your advantages and, honestly, the rate card is a falling action to most clients), and a resolution (the call to action). There’s a structure and drama to everything I do. In his Poetics, Aristotle put forth the idea that, “A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end.”
I am a storyteller.
Is that my passion though? Yes and no. Storytelling doesn’t quite fit the idea of what I have in mind. I like concepts, strategies, metaphors, character developments, visual art, witty quips, and a really good narrative.
It’s more of painting the artwork instead of selling it, shooting the photo instead of displaying it in an exhibit, weaving the fabric instead of running the fashion show. I thrive in the chaos, in the problem solving, in the growing of spuds. I enjoy the actual project of creating the story, not only telling it.
It’s in the business venture I started with my friends a few years ago. It shows in the fundraising events I co-organize with Microcephaly Support Group PH. It shows in the projects I have with Child Protection Network Foundation, Inc. It’s in this publication. It was even noticeable in my speaking engagement in 2018 about the heart in freelance.
Only in retrospect did I realize all of these. I was focused on pursuing what I thought made me happy when in reality, I was already pursuing my passion.
The words of my younger, idealistic-to-a-fault self, claim, “There is a love to create in me—not just in design but also through the words I write, the photos I take, the artwork I make, and even the random little clever ideas that, through continuous harmonious effort, can help make the world a better place to live in.”
My current LinkedIn profile (without consulting the above statement) says: Content Creator. I plan. I design. I write. And I see things through.
I make something out of everyday nothing that even the great Aristotle would agree to having a story.
That’s how I ended up answering the dreaded passion question. How did you?
Almira Manduriao does content marketing and development communication by profession, works with nonprofits and social enterprises to strengthen their causes, and advocates for the protection of women & children in the country. She travels to collect local paintings, eat whatever’s on the menu, and get lost in crowded train stations.