When we’re passionate, it means we feel strongly about something, or we believe in it fully. We put our faith into this something or invest our time and energy into it. For instance, my passion is to advocate for gender equality, and I feel strongly about it. I pour my energy into writing articles about it.
But a friend once told me that they never want their passion to be their 9 to 5 job. For instance, their hobby is audio mixing and creating songs for other people, but they don’t want to delve into the music industry. I asked them why not. They said that once they feel burnt out, the passion might lose its flame. They said they wouldn’t want to lose this one thing that makes them happy just because it has turned into everyday work.
One cliche that people tell you when you graduate from university is to find a job that you can be passionate about, but most people rarely find it. Sure, there are exceptions. There are people like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs who even dropped out of college to pursue their passions and make huge money out of it. But not everyone has the privilege to do so.
The work you do doesn’t have to be your passion
Being passionate about your work may lead to resentment, burnout, or resignation. In an interview with NPR, sociologist Erin Cech says that disconnecting the sense of dedication you have for the extra number of hours you put into your job can be good for you, your team, and your boss in the long run. Cech says that when workers are given more time to rest and more control over their schedule, they are more resilient, creative, and productive.
Cech says that those who are motivated by passion are highly likely to work harder than those who are not personally invested in their work. However, it doesn’t mean that they are paid more. This lack of remuneration is deliberate. Cech says the reason why companies hire more workers who are passionate about their work is not only because they are hard workers, but because they will put in more work but expect no increase in pay.
Today, with changing dynamics in the workplace due to the new normal, some workers are now looking for something beyond the mundanities of their work lives. What they want to find is a job that pays the bills but taps into their deepest talent, transforms them as people, and creates a profound sense of purpose for them. What they do doesn’t have to be their passion but when it helps them live well and find a sense of fulfilment, it adds to their satisfaction too.
Good enough work is enough
There is nothing wrong with doing work that is “good enough” and is suited to your talents and personalities. Of course, it won’t be the same for all of us. Good enough work is when a person has the agency to do something that is meaningful and with purpose. The fact is, having a job that isn’t your passion will allow you to make space for your true passions: whether that’s reading, creative writing, painting, or making music.
But job satisfaction is important too. According to Apollo Technical, about 65 per cent of employees are satisfied with their jobs, while only 20 per cent are passionate. Companies with high worker satisfaction outperform companies with low satisfaction by 202 per cent. The generation that is most satisfied with their jobs are Millennials at 45 per cent.
Even if you are not passionate about your job, liking it is good enough. It even has some benefits. According to the University of Southern California, being happy at work and liking your job enhances performance and boosts productivity. If you enjoy your job, you will likely feel more optimistic and motivated. You will learn faster, make better business decisions, and make fewer mistakes.
When you like your job, there are higher chances that you will feel more creative and focused. Ideas will flow freely for you. When you take on a task with a positive mindset, you will likely be much more successful in doing it. Furthermore, when you like your job, it infects the people around you. It creates a positive atmosphere in your environment. You and your teammates can collaborate, brainstorm, and communicate better. This will increase productivity and engagement, along with your job satisfaction.
Combining work and passion successfully happens rarely for people. Liking your work instead of being passionate is good enough. With that being said, what are the areas in your life you can cultivate as passions outside of work?