To avoid these pitfalls, people may want to base their career decisions on more than whether those decisions represent their passion. What do you need from your work in addition to a paycheck? Predictable hours? Enjoyable colleagues? Benefits? A respectful boss?
For those who are already employed in jobs you are passionate about, I encourage you to diversify your portfolio of the ways in which you make meaning — to nurture hobbies, activities, community service and identities that exist wholly outside of work. How can you make time to invest in these other ways to find purpose and satisfaction?
Another factor to consider is whether you are being fairly compensated for the extra passion-fueled efforts you contribute to your job. If you work for a company, does your manager know that you spent weekends reading books on team leadership or mentoring the newest member of your team after hours? We contribute to our own exploitation if we do uncompensated work for our job out of our passion for it.
My research for "The Trouble with Passion" raises sobering questions about standard approaches to mentoring and career advising. Every year, millions of high school and college graduates gear up to enter the labor force full time, and millions more reevaluate their jobs. It is vital that the friends, parents, teachers and career coaches who counsel them begin to question if advising them to pursue their passion is something that could end up doing more harm than good.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. You can find the original article here.
Erin A. Cech is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan. Professor Cech receives funding from the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and the National Science Foundation.