There is a belief that if you do something you are passionate about, you will never have to work a day in your life. What I gathered from this century-old adage is that if I do something I am passionate about, I will gain greater job satisfaction and naturally be happier as a whole. This interpretation is something that has spurred many adventurous individuals today to take up careers in more niche and perhaps even unorthodox industries. This was not really possible in the past, where the goal was to always enter into the STEM field or any “iron-rice bowl” careers to generate a steady source of income for yourself. Being forced into a job you did not like would naturally make you feel more restricted and suppressed, factors that induce unhappiness. Would that simply mean then that those who get to pursue their passions are happier with their job? That is a lie.
Passion does little to enhance job or workplace satisfaction when looking in the long-term, and no, I am not talking about the lack of financial opportunities that passion may bring you. At the onset, entering into a career that you are passionate about may bring you some form of happiness, but as time progresses, it loses its spark. Here are THREE explanations for why that is so.
Firstly, a lack of autonomy generates suppression, and as I mentioned above, is a factor for unhappiness. When you enter into a job, you will naturally have goals to hit and criterias to fulfil. Say you are passionate about graphic design and venture into a career like so. You are given a set of markers by your client to work within and may limit your creative flow. Studies have shown that many tend to have interests that are hobby-related, which does not really affect their real-life responsibilities. Having a hobby means you can explore it unobstructedly and venture beyond what you know. Going into a career enacts a world of restrictions and responsibilities. It loses its shine. Having little autonomy will diminish the satisfaction you may achieve from the job.
Secondly, a lack of challenges will eradicate your passion. Entering into a job once again makes use of your skills that you have already acquired. For jobs that are more static in nature, you will not have as many opportunities to expand and challenge yourself as compared to when you were a student. Being given chances to try out new techniques, and having the platform to display a sense of learning is imperative in growing a passion. Lacking it renders the job mundane in nature. Situations like these present themselves in various careers. Lawyers who are passionate about the law, the reading and writing in law school find themselves moving away from the legal profession and into other careers as time progresses. Having a lack of challenges makes your job repetitive in nature, and will once again deter your satisfaction levels.
Thirdly, not having a vision will reduce job satisfaction as a whole. Oftentimes, we do things with a purpose in mind. This can range from financial comfort to purely having a platform to move about. Not having a vision will stymie your progress in any job and will lead you to be less satisfied in your job.
The above three points offer a surface view of how you can achieve happiness in your job. An example that actually fulfils all three is something we see students getting more fascinated about. Games effectively encapsulated the three main points, and is why we see students actually being happy despite the many frustrations the game throws their way. So the next time you want to figure out what are the factors you need to decide whether you want a job or not, think of it as a game.