CXO

Can you really have a job you're passionate about?


Lately, there's a lot of talk about passion.  People everywhere are talking about "pursuing their passion." They say things like, "I'm passionate" about this or that.

But have you noticed that most people you ask will admit that what they do for a living is definitely NOT what they are passionate about?  It's unfortunate.  Seems most individuals have been raised to believe that having a dream job - one that they love - isn't the real world.  In fact, I've heard many folks go so far as to say that they believe most people don't even like what they do for a living. 

Everyday we see winners talking about passion.  We see athletes, actors, and celebrities all the time telling people that they love what they are doing for a living.  Not so much people in business, but there are a lot of them out there.  Some come to mind quickly - usually the rich guys like Steve Jobs or Oracle's Larry Ellison. 

Others are less well known.  There's a great story about John Donahoe, President of eBAY's Business Unit.  He was a management consultant who was fortunate enough to have a smart fiance back when he was just 23. She realized that he was pursuing a career which - although it was going to make him a lot of money - was not what he really wanted.  She helped him realize that what he cared about wasn't going to be realized if he pushed himself to succeed in a job because it was the "safe" and "smart" thing to do.  He says, "Her challenge to me was, 'Be who you are.'"  He changed his course, started fresh in a different career and has ended up as the guy who will probably run one of the Internet's biggest businesses.  All because he did what he was passionate about.

Each of us need to realize our own potential to be truly satisfied, successful, and happy.  No one will attain all 3 of those without having passion for what they do.  

Some can fake it for a long time.  As a coach, I work with a lot of great fakers, ones who had convinced themselves for many years that what they were doing was what they cared about.  But at some stage it always falls apart.  And then those people become the walking wounded.  They have a life filled with a great deal of morose about why they didn't do what they really cared about.

Don't allow yourself to become one of those sorry people. 

Take the time now to decide what you truly want to do. And then take whatever action is required to do it.  You'll never regret it.

                                                            - john

                                                        Career Coach

About

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

34 comments
Victoree
Victoree

Convinced by wrongheaded advice taken from the voice of my fears, I convinced myself that I could be a successful classroom teacher. Three terminations told me otherwise. Admitting that this so-called safe, secure "perfect career" was anything but joyful; after having invested years of time and boodles of money; having grown older,colder, and more self abusive I one day decided to quit. One day, even though it will be 15 years or so until the US government says I am eligible, I said to myself, "I am retired". I gave my self permission to do what I do for love and now my daily commute is down 8 steps in my home to the ecommerce business I am teaching myself to develop and manage with my business and life's partner. Yup. Flying without a net and life is grand. Passion found.

rain.longson
rain.longson

As a designer (GUI/graphic) I have worked for .com's, corporation's, as a consultant for consulting companies and for myself. I have been in the design field for 20+ years I wouldn?t, couldn?t give it up for anything else, any more than I could give up breathing. I love my job, the more variety, the more creative problems the better. When I worked full time, I still took on projects outside of the company - I really truly like what I do. I'm on the computer working from just about the time I get up till just about the time I go to bed. The breaks I take is when I walk my dogs - (need to get away from the chair at least for an hour a day), cook dinner for my family and when commuting is required and during this time I thinking about the work I?m doing and coming up with solutions to the design problems. There is only one time I am not super crazy about my job and that's when I rework the same design over and over again, but that is a rare occurrence. Yes, I?m passionate about my job; yes I love my job, would I do anything else? No, you couldn?t pay me enough to do anything else. Heck, I get paid to do what I want to do already!

Eternal
Eternal

I have many hobbies, and many skills, none would I say I'm passionate about. I do computers, well fix and build them because it's what I know it comes naturally, there's a certain logic to them I understand... I used to like computers... but now, I wouldn't say I hate them, I'm just bored of them. It doesn't help I work on computers 8-20 hours a day, every day. SO I'm not a faker, I'm not in denial and thinking I love my job, I tolerate my job, and I know it. A regular pay cheque unfortunatly beats being happy at this point....

No User
No User

You directed your article at the common folks yet your examples are athletes, actors, celebrities and billionaires. If common folks had everything that the elite have I?m sure we would be just as passionate. Instead of taking a career that we feel less than passionate about merely for a standard of living and job security we could afford to do what we wanted and feel the passion. Well since the article is directed at me how about some examples of folks in the same boat as me which would not be the rich and famous, who have this spontaneous perpetual passion. You have a survey that only has 2 extreme questions. Why no wiggle room? * Yes! I do what I love. I love getting up and going to work! What does getting up and going to work have to do with how you feel about your job? What if you must get up very early and drive a long distance but love your job? Kinda like eating and going to the bathroom if you do one you do the other. You love to eat but the other part really stinks. * Are you kidding me? I do what I have to do because it?s the only way to make a decent living. I?m not sure that there is an occupation that I ?really? want to do perhaps in a future century there will be but that is of no consequence to me now. Just because I don?t have a deep persistent love for every iota of my job doesn?t mean I completely lack passion or am incapable of it. Above all I still must ?work for a living? If I could bed down the worlds most beautiful women, lived in a mansion had servants for my every need, didn?t ?need? to ?work for a living? and I could basically all around do what I want. Then I have no doubt that I would just be flowing over with passion. I noticed the author is a Career Coach. The article sounds like a motivational speech not a realistic concept. Now that I said all of that it?s simply healthy to get into your work (the rest of your life as well) and at least feel some passion. We only have one shot at life and the more passion we feel the better. If the author has the secret that leads to a passionate existence then spell it out. I think we could all stand to benefit and I would like to be the first one in line.

Prefbid II
Prefbid II

By the author's definition, I'm one of the fakers. The best I can say is that my job is acceptable. I am certainly not passionate about it. I don't hate it and I don't love it. I find most of the people that I work with to be rather nice. I like the community. I like the area of the country. The pay is good. The benefits are good. The work is just "acceptable". I would love to be passionate about my work, but I think I would have to get into another line of work in order to invoke some feeling of passion. My wife has asked me several times, "if money were no object, what would you be doing?" I know the answer to that question. It has nothing to do with computers. However, money is one of the objects and what I would like to do is far more risky than what I do now. So, while I'm not passionate, I'm still happy enough.

dogknees
dogknees

When I read the precis of this article, my immediate response was "no it's the opposite". I was always brought up to believe that a primary goal in life is to get a job you enjoy. This wasn't just my parents, but seemed to be the standard view of life by parents, school teachers, career coachs, everybody really. I'm not saying we shouldn't accept anything less than perfection, I'm saying we should be striving for the goal of enjoying our jobs, and striving to give our kids the same opportunities when they enter the workforce. Where have we gone so wrong that people don't even see it as a possibility, let alone a goal. Sad!!

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

for more than 30 years I have provided a level of customer service second to none. Yes indeed I am very passionate about what I do and am very proud to do it.

Wayne M.
Wayne M.

The reality is that if someone is successful at what he does, then the vast majority of his tasks will be rote tasks. In fact, it is most often those who can take their personal feelings out of the mix, those who can be dispassionate, that are most effective. No, one should not do something that he despises doing. That, however, is a far crying from being passionate about it. As Thomas Edison noted, it is 99% perspiration, doing the necessary detailed work, that permits success. Sure, enjoy the brief bits of creativity and enjoy the people you work with. Do not expect, though, that a job will provide passion, or you will be in a revolving door of new jobs every couple of years. There are far more important things in life than a job.

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