Attention FAE Customers:
Please be aware that NASBA credits are awarded based on whether the events are webcast or in-person, as well as on the number of CPE credits.
Please check the event registration page to see if NASBA credits are being awarded for the programs you select.

Want to save this page for later?

Most Popular Content

Experts Rethink How Essential Passion for One's Job Is

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Aug 3, 2023

“Follow your passion” may not be such helpful advice when it comes to working, The New York Times reported.

An overemphasis on passion for one’s work can be harmful in a number of ways, researchers found.

“It doesn’t provide an opportunity to develop an identity outside of work,” Erin Cech, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, told the Times. “In addition, employers who prioritize passion expect people to give more time and energy without being paid more.”

“We’ve been told that you can self-fulfill only through work, but people are beginning to see there are other aspects of life as important or more important than work,” said Jae Yun Kim, an assistant professor of business ethics at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. “People are beginning to treat work as work, and that’s a good sign.”

Experts attributed this shift in attitude to the pandemic and the changes it advanced in the working world. That shift might encourage people to rethink what passion for a job—which was not really a thing until the 1970s— really means. That decade saw the increasing job instability of professionals and a growing cultural emphasis on self-expression and self-satisfaction.

But even then, a preoccupation with job fulfillment was the purview of privileged white-collar workers, the Times noted. “The majority of people do not work to self-actualize,” Simone Stolzoff, who wrote the book “The Good Enough Job: Reclaiming Life From Work,” noted that told the Times. “They work to survive.”

The intertwining of passion and career has been particularly strong in the United States, due to its emphasis on individualism, the importance of work and relative lack of strong labor movements, experts told the Times.

Taha Yasseri, an associate professor of sociology at University College Dublin, called a career that overshadows all other parts of one's life “obsessive passion.” She advised workers to ask themselves if they’re able to switch off their job and focus on family, hobbies or other parts of their life. If the answer is no, they may want to rethink their  priorities.

Alex, a 27-year-old supply chain manager for a Fortune 500 company, worked at least 60 hours a week at his job for three years. “I found myself addicted to the workplace, addicted to my job and, looking back, it was very unhealthy,” he told the Times, adding that his relationship with his girlfriend suffered as well.

When he was promoted and moved to a new state, he started working 40 hours a week, and got the same positive performance reviews, without the intense working hours or constant worrying.

“My job is fine. I don’t go to bed dreaming about it,” he told the Times. “And I’m A-OK with that.”