Passion And Pursuit Of What You Love

Workers have more control over their working conditions — the pay, place, and pace of their jobs — than they have since the heyday of worker collective action and unionization over half a century ago… many workers, especially professionals, are reconsidering what they want from their jobs and daring to ask for something more.

Erin A. Cech

Chances are that being in a job that you are not passionate about is less than enjoyable. Most people will work 50+ years in their lifetime. Doing something you dislike for over half your life can lead to a feeling of disappointment. Here is a little secret, you don’t have to continue to go through the motions of that job. Trust that you can find a career that you are passionate about. What’s cool about that concept is that when you put that into practice, success is likely to follow. A career plus your passion is inevitably a simple equation equalling success personally and professionally.

As 2023 begins, be true to yourself and dive into your passions. Pursue what you love.

I want to follow my passion.  I want work that I love. I want work that is meaningful. I want work that is me. This ideal is what I call the “passion principle.” As I describe in my book, the passion principle is the prioritization of personally fulfilling work even at the expense of job security or a decent salary. 

Erin A. Cech

Oftentimes people may think that doing what they love and their job must be separate. However, doing what you love and your career can be the same. It is estimated that about 20% of people are in a career that they always hoped they’d be in. While that number has risen, that is still a small percentage. In all honesty, especially right at the beginning of your career gate, it may take a few jobs to finally get to that one that truly encompasses who you are and your passions. During those times are pivotal moments in which prepare you for a successful, passionate career. 

It is also important to wrestle with what is most important to you and what are non-negotiables.

Finding a job aligned with your passion right out of school may require sacrifices of time and economic stability. Searching for jobs that don’t just fit your credentials and skills but feed your soul may take months or even years. Leaving a job mid-career to start fresh in another line of work may mean walking away from the networks, habits, and informal know-how that have been the backbone of your previous success.

We should be mindful of the fact that by prioritizing passion in our career decision-making, we make a core part of our sense of identity vulnerable to the whims of profit maximization, structural reorganization, and future public health shutdowns.

Another way to look at this – is a job that is unfulfilling but fits neatly into predictable hours or part-time work that provides enough funds for personal and family needs can offer much more freedom to pursue meaningful activities.

When you do what you love, it is almost guaranteed that you will feel more fulfilled in life.

You have a purpose to your career. When you enjoy what you do, you will be more motivated to pursue your goals and thus, you will be more successful as an individual, but you will also be contributing greatly to your company’s success as well. Not only will you feel more fulfilled, you will also be a more productive individual. The reality is that if you are not interested or passionate about what you are doing, you will lack motivation which makes complete sense. Why actively pursue something you do not deeply care about? 

Push for your passion in your career.

The increased freedom of a job-seekers’ market, paired with a more existential, “life is short” mindset, has made following your passion seem more logical and more within reach for many workers than ever before.

With passion, you may not have the “cookie cutter” skill sets for that specific job, but you have experiences that have shaped you into who you are and sometimes that will set you apart from others who seem to have the perfect-fit resume. Every moment and experience matters. There is great value in chasing after what you love despite a possible gap in knowledge or experience. Passion is possible where determination is present.

Invest in and advocate for yourself.

Use your negotiation power to ask for what you need to change your work hours or work structure, or to invest time in yourself outside of work. Build coalitions with colleagues and other workers. Find solidarity and support with others in your industry. Look out for what negotiation tactics have worked for others.

Cultivating the passion in the career you have.

Loving everything about your job is rare — perhaps even a kind of fantasy. But there are many ways to have a satisfying job that don’t involve being passionate about its content. Finding work with colleagues you cherish, working for an organization whose mission you value, or finding a balance of work tasks that provides the right combination of independent and collaborative activities are others.

It might not be an obvious or easy option, but try to think in terms of shrinking the space that full-time work takes up in your life to open up more time and energy to do things you enjoy. 

Make room to invest in hobbies and activities wholly outside of work that feel meaningful and self-expressive, whether that’s sports, volunteering, music, or pub trivia nights. Find the time and protect it. In this way we can push back on the ideal worker norm, and the default demand that we must be singularly devoted to our jobs.

Want to hear more about this topic?

Tune into the Leadership Level Up podcast where Dr. Jeff Williamson, CEO and Founder of Converge, sits down with Dr. Genevra Walters to discuss this very topic. Together they talk about one of the main ways to success: pursuing what you love. At Converge, we are committed to helping you lean into the skillsets that you have and using those towards pursuing the passions you have as an individual because passions and career don’t have to be separate.