Do You Need Passion To Be Happy At Work?

passion 3One of the most viewed lists I have done in the last five years is 10 Ways to display Passion If you don’t know how to display passion you may be confused as to what passion is. I know it has had me puzzled at times. Words can be confusing because they often mean different things to different people.

To begin with my idea of passion is much more emotional than I could feel for my work. To me passion is over the top. It is really excessive emotion. The way I feel about dark chocolate (passionate-always wanting more)  is not the way I feel about my work(satisfied and fulfilled).

That is not to say that people who feel passion for their jobs are wrong. They perhaps do have that emotional over the top connection or perhaps they just define passion differently.

When my son was in college he majored in East Asian Studies. He loves all things Asian including speaking Chinese fluently. I was delighted and encouraged him to think of a career in business where he could use this knowledge. He had other ideas. He wanted to be a psychologist. The Asian studies were interesting, he said, but his passion was psychology.

I must admit I just didn’t get it. As his mother I was eager to see my son settled in a lucrative career. Business with his fluency in Chinese seemed perfect. Today he is a psychologist in his own thriving practice. This he said was his passion and he made a good choice for himself.

One of my clients rejected the word passion. She said she had grown up to think that passion was wrong and not something that one should want. For her to feel passion would make her feel guilty. This was not a way she wanted to feel about her work. She was very firm in this belief with no desire to change it.

So what makes you happy at work? Do you need to be passionate about the work or does the work need to be meaningful and fulfilling. It’s your work so you get to decide. Some of you might feel you need both. We are all different.

Most of my clients want to feel engaged in the work that they do. They also want to feel a connection to something beyond their own wants and needs – a larger purpose. They want the work to have meaning to themselves, their employer and their community, country or world. Finding out what kind of work that is is what they come to me for.

The good news is that today employers are looking for employees that will be engaged in their work so they may resonate with the word “passionate” because it tells them the person will be engaged. If you are passionate about something, the employer doesn’t need to motivate you because you are already motivated.

If you are looking for meaningful and fulfilling work it will be up to you to know what kind of work that is and know what makes it so meaningful and fulfilling. Some people find a job and then find meaning and fulfillment in the job. Experience on the job gives you some clues as to what meaningful and fulfilling means to you.

There are many approaches to being happy at work. You may be passionate about something and find work that involves that something. You may have an interest in a particular industry or using a skill and find work in that industry or using that skill. You’ll then need to find out through experience what makes you happy at work. Every job you hold gives you clues as to what makes you happy at work.

Take Action

If you are serious about finding what makes you happy at work and would like to work with a partner and guide who will help to put the puzzle together so that you can find work that you love, please call me at 781-598-0388 or email me at


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