So the month of (consumerist-driven) love is over. You hopefully feel surrounded by love in your personal life, leaving us with the question - do you love your job? Is it something you've dreamed of doing since you were small? Does it light you up when you talk about it; feel excited about how it will grow and change over the years?
We understand that passion can (and often does) burn out over time but so long as you identify with the elements that make you feel fulfilled, it's possible to keep up the enthusiasm for the work you do.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT WORK & PASSION:
1. It's okay not to feel passionate about your job for the rest of your life.With the average UK worker now changing career 5 times in their lifetime, it's no longer a mark of indecisiveness to change career path.
2. Passion is fulled by purpose. Those elements of work you love we mentioned above - those are what give a clue to your purpose.
3. You don't have to work for yourself to find passion and purpose. If the leader of your company communicates their passion in an infectious way you believe in and have excitement for, you're all set.
Considering the age of retirement is also creeping slowly up (by 2028 it will be 67 years old), we could be working for a good fifty years. Whether you live to work and therefore perhaps don't prioritise your personal life, or work to live, with the possibility you hate your job but it pays the bills, there's no denying making work a fulfilling part of your life is crucial. However, we appreciate this is easier said than done. So, how can you figure out whether your work is your passion or indeed, what your passion is?
HOW TO UNCOVER YOUR PASSION
Do you lose track of time when working?
Many studies have shown that the more engaged and 'in flow' you are when carrying out a task, the more productive you are. And the more you get done, the higher your level of satisfaction at work. Working 'in the zone' is an indication that you really, REALLY love your work - that's a great thing! We all know the feeling of a day lasting forever when we're bored so the opposite feeling is exactly what you want.
Does the work you do sync with your values?
Ideally, your values and work should be congruent ie. in agreement with one another. For example, if one of your values is trust but you know your company is, ahem, hiding things they shouldn't, you won't feel especially happy there. But if your company reward people who have been with them a long-time and you value loyalty, it's likely you will feel far happier. Not many people really explore exactly what their values are - here is a useful article to help you think about yours in relation to your job specifically.
Are you proud of what you do?
If you can't be shut up when friends ask how work is (and not because you're complaining), you've certainly got that elusive enthusiasm! Feeling pride in the work that you do and the service or skill you provide is a sure-fire indicator that you're in the right line of work. If you quickly change the subject away from work and feel any form of embarrassment about it, it's fair to say the passion is missing.
Once you've got an idea of where your passions lie, you can start thinking about them in relation to your day to day work-life. How much of your work day is taken up by tasks and activities which fall under one of your passions? Think of it as a percentage of your day/week/month? Are you happy with the percentage you come up with or would you like it be more?
If you'd like a higher percentage of your time at work to reflect your passions, ask yourself what little things you could do to increase it? Even small things such as adding family photos to your desk or desktop if family is a cornerstone value to you. Something bigger such as setting up a charity event for a cause you're particularly passionate about could also help connect more to your job and its scope for opportunity.
At the end of the day, how passionate you are or are not about your job boils down to how happy you are day to day. If you're feeling like your passions and talents come into their own outside of the work environment, perhaps keeping them separate works best for you. But if you want to feel increased satisfaction at work, taking some time to think more deeply about what your skills, talents and passions are in relation to your job vs your hobbies, is absolutely worthwhile.
No More Ifs Or Buts.