Do what you love – but only if you want to be unsuccessful, poor and unsatisfied. It’s one of the most frequently given pieces of career advice, but if you want to enjoy your work, don’t follow your passion.
We all want to find happiness in the workplace. Nobody sets out looking for a job that makes them stressed, demotivated or unhappy. Yet, 47% of employees in the United Kingdom want to quit their current job.
It probably has a lot to do with a single phrase that is drilled into us from an early age – follow your passion.
The concept is simple enough. Doing what you enjoy doing will bring you happiness. If you’re doing a job that you love, you will work harder, perform better and ultimately achieve success.
Yet, this makes something extremely complex sound far easier than it actually is. We head into our work lives expecting to reach our dream job, only to grow unhappy when we realise that it is unachievable or simply doesn’t exist.
When you consider the facts, following your passion is an awful idea. If you want to be successful, don’t follow your passion.
Don’t follow your passion: Why mixing work and passion gets you nowhere
Just because you enjoy something, it doesn’t mean that everyone does. Succeeding at business is all about providing other people with something of value. If you are thinking exclusively about your own interests, you more than likely aren’t thinking about what your customers want.
Likewise, you also need to consider whether doing what you love as a job is really practical.
A study at the University of Montreal found that 89% of participants were passionate about sports, arts or music.
However, less than 5% of all jobs were in those fields. If all of those participants followed their passion, 84% of them would be left unemployed.
Then there is the minor fact that passion and talent aren’t the same thing. Just because you enjoy doing something, you aren’t necessarily good at it. By narrowing your career prospects down to one specific area, you could miss job opportunities that you would really excel in.
Even if we could all land our dream jobs without an ounce of effort, many of us would still be unhappy at work. Our likes and interests are always changing and there is no guarantee that our current passion will be our passion five years from now.
The best way to find a job that you love is to try different things, get out of your comfort zone and let your job become your passion, rather than your passion become your job. Swapping one cliche for another, you don’t know until you try.