Passion, maple syrup, and career advice

I believe that “passion” is a seriously over-used word. Like the word “awesome”. But, “awesome” is actually awesome, so maybe it’s not a fair comparison.

There is no shortage of life coaches and career gurus telling you to find your passion, don’t settle for anything less than your passion, and that if you work doing what you are passionate about, well then you aren’t actually working.

I’m sorry, but if you are working then it’s work. You might like your work, you may even love your work, but it’s work. Stop trying to fool yourself otherwise.

Someone out there may challenge that this jaded view is because I haven’t found my passion. That’s BS. My passion is education, it’s reading and it’s cooking with and consuming maple syrup. However, I have yet to find a job that allows me to learn, teach or read about or while eating “liquid gold”…so I’m not likely to be passionate about my work any time soon.

I do like my work. Some days I REALLY like my work. I get excited about new initiatives, I enjoy trading ideas with other HR folk, and I really do like making a difference to the people I work with, but to call this my passion and assume that I will be in a passionate state at all times is unrealistic and unsustainable.

I have been married for almost twenty years, and you can tack another 5 years pre-marriage. I love my husband. Very much. But I’m not sure how well our marriage would have fared if either of us had expected it to be rated at the passionate level every single day.

If you go into a job, a workplace, or even a career because it’s your passion, and with the expectation that you will enjoy what you do every minute of every single work day (which will be every day, since it’s your passion, right?) Then what happens if you have a sucky day? Because you will. We all do.

And what if that sucky days stretches into a week or a month, because something out of your control changed and you are no longer feeling the love from work? Will you bail or stick it out?

I’m seeing people struggle with this. They don’t think they should have to settle and so when they feel that the compromises that they will have to make to maintain the employment are not in-line with the “passionate-employee’s handbook”, well they immediately start looking for an out.

What I believe is that people forget that passion is an emotion, not a state of being. You aren’t meant to be in this place all the time – it’s meant to be a temporary feeling which highlights whatever is going on at that time.

Like maple syrup.

I mean, if I served it with every meal, it would become common and likely cease to be my reason to live. And then where would I be?

I would be a woman without a passion.

“But life is long. And it is the long run that balances the short flare of interest and passion.”
Sylvia Plath

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2 thoughts on “Passion, maple syrup, and career advice

  1. Very topical point! The argument for and against pursuing passion in the workplace gains strength every day. This important write helps provide a balanced, attainable and real view towards that debate. Excellent write Julie! Pass the syrup!

  2. Pingback: Best of the Week, 10 May | ChristopherinHR

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