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Does your passion match your job?

January 9, 2012

I love Seth Godin’s blog and was inspired enough by this post to read his latest book, Linchpin.  The message of the book is that we all should strive to do emotional labor and create art in our line of work.  This is how one becomes indispensable, how one becomes a linchpin.

The book itself was a good read, though it seemed repetitive at times.  Seth made his main point early on and spent a lot of time going over the same ideas.  This is excusable.  His ideas were worth repeating.

There is a lot of good nuggets in this book, but one that jumped out at me was this one on passion, a topic that pops up every now and then in the personal finance community.

Does your job match your passion?  Or does your passion match your job?  Conventional wisdom is that you should find a job that matches your passion.  I think this is backwards.  […]  Transferring your passion to your job is far easier than finding a job that happens to match your passion.

Originally, I advocate that loving your job is not nearly as important as loving your life.  I still think that is true, and I also think it is hard to love your life if you are in a job you hate.  Hating your job is not an option, but loving it isn’t a requirement either.  At least that is true for me.

However, as I’ve gotten more and more invested in my career I’ve realized that when you start emotionally investing yourself in your job, your job can become a passion.  It is amazing how exciting and rewarding that can be, and how independent it is from what your job actually is.  The technical content of my new job is interesting, but relatively small compared to the content in my old job.  However, my ability to make an impact and to really make a difference feels so much larger in my new job.  I’m happiest when I’m making a difference (and being recognized for that), and I think my job is happiest when I’m striving to make a difference.

My career goal is to be a linchpin.  I know that isn’t very specific, but it is all I have at this point.  Now I just need to put on my brave face and start throwing myself into all the stuff that I have no idea how to do yet!

So what do you think?  Do you think you can create passion for most any job by investing yourself emotionally?  Or do you have to work in a job that aligns with your innate passions?  Or don’t you really want to do either?  I think this is a really personal choice and there is no single right answer.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2012 7:02 am

    I’m not really too concerned about making my job a passion, or having my passion my job. I like my career path, but at the end of the day, work isn’t everything to me. It’s something I have to do to pay the bills, and the real fun is after work and on the weekends when I can do things that are ACTUALLY fun for me.

    I understand wanting to work in something that people love as a passion, but I always think that if I worked in my passions, they would become work, not passions.

    • January 9, 2012 8:41 am

      I totally agree about not trying to make my passions a career for fear it would suck the passion out of it. There is too much “work” that comes with turning things into a money making venture, at least for things I consider my passions (which change over time too).

  2. January 9, 2012 8:40 am

    I like working and I also like to enjoy life. Basically, I want to have 100% of my time be stress-free, happy and useful 🙂

    To do all of that, I need to be a linchpin as well, as you pointed out. Doing well in my hobbies like blogging, is important to me even if there is not a lot of $$ involved.

  3. January 9, 2012 12:15 pm

    Hmmm, sounds like a really good book! I think I’ll head over to Chapters tonight and pick it up …

  4. January 12, 2012 11:32 pm

    I have a lot of interests. My biggest passion is probably all things to do with words and writing, and that’s how I make a living. I am interested in journalism and media, but not to the extent that hardcore journos are; it’s not unlikely I might switch tacks into marketing/PR/branding later on, especially as more companies look to create their own content. I think I could definitely be a part of a team if I believed in the company/product and its values.

    I still kind of think of corporates and big business as dirty, it’s true, but we’re all essentially selling something. Even as a journo, I’m representing my publication and what it stands for.

    Writing is just such a basic part of my life, I don’t think I could ever get sick of it. I could burn out of journalism down the line, and I definitely have dry, uninspired spells where I don’t feel like blogging (though they rarely last longer than a few weeks), but I will always personally come back to writing.

    My other interests? I have no interest in turning those into jobs. I wouldn’t mind working in the music industry for the fun of it, but I definitely don’t want to be a musician. I love food and am having a blast learning how to cook, slowly, but wouldn’t want to do it professionally. I like playing around with my DSLR but again, definitely couldn’t and wouldn’t want to do it for pay.

  5. Cait permalink
    January 16, 2012 11:16 am

    I’m already a linchpin at work. Whenever I tell my bosses that I’m going for a job interview, you can literally see the fear on their faces. And when I asked for 6 months off to go to Toronto, I got all kinds of offers to stay. But that doesn’t mean I like what I do. I’m good at it but it’s not my passion. But you bring up an interesting point about why I might be good at what I do: because I do care about our clients and our overall success. I’m also a perfectionist and hate to disappoint people! So I guess I have created a small bit of passion in my job; otherwise, I probably wouldn’t feel so needed.

    And PS, I heart Soth Godin’s books and blog too!

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