Have you ever thought about just quitting your job and doing something about which you are truly passionate? Questioning our career choices confronts most of us at some point. Here, Victoria Mallinckrodt, Consultant and Lifestyle Hacker, considers approaches to finding fulfilling work and suggests passion might not be all it’s cracked up to be….
Many gurus and self-help books would have us believe that we can achieve happiness, financial success and love what we do every day and all at the same time – we just need to find something about which we are truly passionate and, ‘Heh presto!’. But is this really how it really works for most of us?
If we start with the question ‘Who am I?’ and then attempt to find work to match the (usually elusive) answer, the road to finding it can be a long and dusty one, requiring focus and patience and several false starts. That doesn’t sound quite so mysterious and sexy, does it!
But we could view ‘passion’ as something that can be achieved over time and with a lot of hard work. Some research suggests that we are more likely to consider our work ‘a calling’ if we have been doing it over a long period of time. Over time, we build competence. Competence offers us increased autonomy and we are therefore more likely to develop more on-the-job enjoyment – and, ultimately, a feeling of ‘passion’ for what we do.
Becoming passionate about work requires active engagement and building up the ‘career capital’ to find fulfilling work. Instead of quitting a job to find passion in a completely unrelated area, perhaps we should examine and make use of the skills that we have built throughout our existing careers. This requires a number of small tweaks on the tiller to redirect our work over time.
Don’t underestimate your career capital, the skills you have developed and how you might find passion and satisfaction by ‘tweaking’ rather than jumping ship.
For further insights into making positive career choices, check out these books and websites:
- Cal Newport “So good they can’t ignore you – Why skills trump passion in the quest for meaningful work” – Easy to read and short!
- Roman Krznarik “how to find fulfilling work”– a more philosophical read
- Daniel Pink “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need” – a career guide for the younger generation
- Brainpickings website for many related articles – brainpickings.org