Employee Development

Is Telling Someone to Find Their Passion Really Good Career Advice?

Unless you’re born into a family of the super wealthy or win the lottery early in life, chances are you are going to spend the bulk of your adult life working at some kind of job.


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It’s not necessary to love your job, but it would certainly help. Not only would it make going to work more enjoyable, but doing something every day that you love would seemingly make you better at doing that job because you can put your heart and soul into it.

Is ‘Finding Your Passion’ All It’s Hyped Up to Be?

It’s common and well-known advice given to those looking to start or transition into a new career: “Find your passion.” Reporting on a recent study from Stanford and Yale-NUS College in Singapore in an article for The Washington Post, Tara Bahrampour writes that the study discovered that “find your passion” is actually not such great advice and may actually make it harder for people to figure out what they actually love to do.

Passion Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Success

The idea that following your passion may actually challenge employees’ ability to find the best job for them may seem a bit counterintuitive at first. Bahrampour explains that, according to the study, which will be published in Psychological Science: “The idea of ‘finding’ one’s passion implies that people have built-in interests just waiting to be discovered, and if you can simply figure out what they are you will magically be able to embrace them.”

Experience First, Passion Later

The reality is that there are always challenges, setbacks, disappointments, and frustrations in any endeavor, even if it is something you are passionate about. People who believe that they simply need to identify their inherent passion can be disenchanted and give up on this interest once they hit one of these roadblocks.

“Instead,” writes Bahrampour, “researchers say true passion develops—through being open-minded about delving into a new topic, and being willing to put some work into it.”

Hopefully, this study’s findings aren’t too disheartening for those hoping to do what they love and love what they do. It’s not that employees are doomed to lifetimes of miserable drudgery.

Instead, the research suggests that approaching work of any kind with an open mind and not being too premature deciding what we are passionate about until we’ve tried it in the real world is likely to lead to the greatest job satisfaction.