Is Having Passion Enough to Get Your Dream Job?

Is Having Passion Enough for Your Dream Job

The topics of passion and work often come up together.  In today’s culture, many of us are told to “follow our passion” in regards to the pursuit of career success and happiness.  We have been trained and groomed to feel that passion is the basis for career decision making and a critical requirement for our success in any particular field. After all, if we have passion for our work, work never feels like work.  Right?

Unfortunately, passion by itself does very little to help us find success in our careers and even less for helping us secure the work we really want to do.

The truth is… No one cares about your passion except you.

What People Really Need In the Workforce

What people do care about is your skills, qualifications, experience, and ability to get the job done.  These factors are valued highly because they are tangible and measurable facets of your ability to achieve desirable results.  They have been “proven out” as key indicators of someone’s ability to perform well or deliver high quality and consistent results.

On the other hand, passion is intangible, it can not be measured by any standards other than the standard you personally measure it by.  Saying “I’m so passionate about …..” can mean many different things depending on the individual themselves and how they measure their passion.  It’s ambiguous.

But if someone says “I have a Master’s degree in this field”, that can be measured.  There was certain coursework that needed to be completed.  There was a certain amount of time and effort that needed to be invested.  A certain level of discipline and persistence was likely required to graduate with that degree.  It’s much easier for someone to see how having that Master’s degree can add value due to its ability to be measured in tangible ways.

Passion is simply not enough to find success in the working world.  It doesn’t matter what role you are in.  Your bosses and employers don’t care.  Your co-workers and colleagues don’t care.  If you work for yourself, your clients and customers don’t care.  All they care about is whether or not you can add or create value for them and passion simply isn’t the best indicator of that.  Your skills, experience, and other measurable qualifications are what will be most valued.

Passion Can Have Some Value, Though!

But let’s be clear, passion is not entirely worthless.  Being passionate about your line of work will benefit you by facilitating your ability to develop the skills, education, and qualifications that do ultimately matter.  It’s easier to learn something if you are passionate about it.  It’s easier to show up every day ready to perform and deliver results when you are passionate.  Passion is a way to kickstart the pursuit of mastery in a certain line of work, but ultimately, long term success will only be found by adding measurable and tangibles skills and qualifications to your passion.  Passion by itself will not lead to success.

And it just makes sense.  Anyone can have passion, but not everyone can do the job well.  Just like anyone can have an idea, only few can take it and see it through to completion.  If the job market requires individuals to have a specific certification for a certain position, no amount of “But I’m so passionate about this type of work!” is going to get you through the front door if you don’t have the necessary certification.  You need the skills first, the tried and true ability to get the job done well.  Only then can your passion be used as a cherry on the top to help you stand out above others similarly qualified.

Should You Even Bother to Mix Passion and Work?

It’s also worth discussing if it’s even worth trying to mingle work with passion.  I discussed in an earlier blog post why following your passion for a career isn’t always the best idea and many of those beliefs stand true here as well.

Work can ruin your passion.  When you take a passion and turn it into your job, major disappointment can occur when what you want to do is not always what your boss or the customer wants you to do.  Even more frustrating if you’re limited on how and when you can do it.  Not only that, but we may start to feel quite burned out about our passion when we are doing it 40-60 hours a week year after year.  What was once perfect as a hobby may be terrible as a job.

Success doesn’t stem from passion in most cases, either.  Success comes from choosing in-demand fields of work the world needs.  The world generally does not need millions of Candle Makers, but it does need millions of Accountants.  Sure, you may be passionate about being a Doctor, Teacher, or other (insert in-demand career here), but most typical passions lead to work in niche fields.

And for those that feel they need to have passion in the work they do, it’s worth mentioning that passion often develops FROM success.  It’s very easy to become passionate about something when you’re finding success within it, even if you weren’t passionate about it at all before. If you start doing something and you’re suddenly making $20,000 a month from it, you get passionate about that something very quickly.  It’s not only financial success either.  Success can bring comfort, happiness, peace, positive impact, fulfillment, and other qualities that all ultimately lead to passion for whatever thing you’re doing.

Using Passion Correctly In Your Career

Passion can be a good thing if you have it for the work you do.  It will often keep you motivated and excited about your work.  It’s not enough by itself, however, to get your dream job.  The base requirement for finding your dream job is first developing or having the skills, experience, and qualifications necessary to do the job well.  Passion comes after and serves only as a bonus on top.

Let passion for work be your best-kept secret.  Keep it to yourself.  Those who you think may care about it often will not.  If you happen to be passionate about your career and you do that job well, your merits will shine through without the need to shout out loud how passionate you are.  Your passion will give you an edge over your colleagues when the smile you have showing up at work in the morning or when presented with extra tasks to complete is genuine versus faked as many others do.

And if you find you have passion for certain work but lack the skills or experience to do the job well, perhaps it may be best just not to mix your passion and work at all.  Why not just keep your passion as a hobby or thing for you to enjoy personally?  Why does it have to be work exactly?  It doesn’t!  Passions are sometimes best enjoyed when not turned into a full-time job.

So next time you find yourself thinking about the work you do or the work you want to do, remember that passion is not the starting line.  What matters most is your ability to do the job well and passion is not a measurable indicator of that.  Passion is actually the end goal, and it will come quickly to you once you have taken the appropriate steps necessary to find success first.

Yours Truly,
– Mr. Happy Work

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