"Passion" Isn't Actually Required to do a Good JobIt was with a real sense of gratitude that I read Alina Tugend's "Shortcuts" column in today's New York Times. I have never been comfortable with the popular admonition that people should do their darndest to bring "passion" to their jobs. As I indicated in this blog's first post, I certainly agree that it's best for people to be working in jobs they truly care about, but I can't help thinking that "passion" has connotations that generally fit private life best.
Tugend's quarrel with the call for "passion" at work, is not exactly like mine. Her question is:
Are we falling into a trap of believing that our work and indeed, our lives, should always be fascinating and all-consuming? Are we somehow lacking if we're bored at times or buried under routine tasks or failing to challenge ourselves at every turn?Following her own line of thought, Tugend goes on to discuss the ideas of various thinkers who have addressed the questions of what mental state or attitude is best suited to achieving satisfaction at work, and what employers and employees can do to encourage arriving at this preferred state.
As it turns out, the advice Tugend's informants offer is quite consonant with my own (by no means unprecendented) thought that people should aim to be employed doing something they can embrace wholeheartedly (while also recognizing that just about any job has tiresome aspects). Similarly, managers should aim to get people working on projects that particular individuals find inherently interesting and that tap the employees' strengths.