Why following your passion isn’t the best advice and why you’re better off finding working that’s engaging:
What we’ve found is that the best predictors of job satisfaction are features of the job itself, rather than matters of pre-existing passion. Research shows that what you should be looking for is work that is engaging: find that, and you’re likely to develop long-lasting passion for that work.
Engaging work can be broken down into five factors:
- Independence: How much control do you have over how you go about your work?
- Sense of completion: How much does the job involve completing whole pieces of work so that your contribution to the end product is easily visible?
- Variety: How far does the job require you to perform a range of different activities, using different skills and talents?
- Feedback from the job: How easy is it to know whether you’re performing well or poorly?
- Contribution: How much does your work “make a difference,” improving the well-being of other people?
Each of these factors also contributes to motivation, productivity, and commitment to your employer. Other factors that also contribute to job satisfaction include whether you get a sense of achievement from the work, how much support you get from your colleagues, and “hygiene” factors, such as not having unfair pay or a very long commute. You’ll notice, none of these have much to do with whether the work involves one of your “passions.”