Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Do what you love”: the mantra for happiness or the worst career advice ever?

We all know the quote from Confucius: ‘do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’. It has become a mantra in career guidance.

Although I am a big fan of career counselling, the thought that the key to having a great career is to identify your passion and pursue a career involving that interest, gives me the creeps. I cannot help but wonder whether matching people with the right job is my true passion or is it something I became passionate about over the years because through experience I became good at it?

The problem is that we talk about passion as if it is something that exists deep within ourselves. It is there, just waiting to come out…. if only we give it a chance. But most of us are not born with one clear out passion. And our passion may evolve over time. Or maybe you are not great in what you are passionate about. Passion may create an intimidating standard that you are not likely to meet.

So, if you've been feeling like you are destined for mediocrity because you can't find your one true passion, relax.  Many successful people are passionate but when you take a closer look, their passion often developed alongside their success, rather than coming first.

So maybe it is time that we define passion within the context of a career in a different way. Maybe it is time we start focusing on interests that you find compelling and things that you do really well. If your work helps others, you practice to excel at it, you work on engaging tasks, and you work with people that inspire you, then you are likely to become passionate about it. Very often, the ingredients of a dream job are all about the context of the work, not the content. 

Maybe doing what we love has more to do with learning and further developing the characteristics that we naturally good at and integrating those onto a job where you have a sense of purpose, a job where you feel that you contribute to improving the life of others. With the further development of those skills we might create that passion that makes us feel like we are doing what we love to do.

In the end, the goal is to be happy with what you do. But does passion really play a significant role in this? Or is there a difference between following your passion and having work that you are passionate about?

I look forward to hearing from you,

Through a personalized and tailor-made approach, Ingenium Executive Search aspires to assist you in attracting the right talent that matches the DNA of your company

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