Do you remember a few years back when you first started your career? You were very passionate and excited at the time, weren’t you? It is quite common for younger people who are just starting out to feel really excited and enthusiastic about their careers. Unfortunately, most of the time this passion and excitement doesn’t last. Six Pillars to a Thriving Career will explain why, so please read the entire blog series.
This blog post will talk about passion. Passion is a self-generated desire to do something or make something happen. Your passion was naturally the strongest when you first discovered what you wanted to do for a living. You were so inspired, it almost felt like you were in love!
Unfortunately, passion cannot last on its own.
It is an extremely rare sight to see an employee of 10 years be as passionate about his or her job as someone in their first year. You have to constantly and consistently work on reigniting your passion in order to keep it alive. This is true about relationships, friendships, and marriages, and the same is true about your career as well.
Just like a fire that needs fuel in order to continue burning, we have needs in order to keep our passion alive. These needs are: value, growth, environment, compensation and work life balance. If you don’t feel like your work brings value, if you are not growing, if you are unhappy with your team, feel like you’re not getting paid enough, or don’t get enough time for yourself, over time your passion will wear off.
We all have a need to know that the work we do is making a difference out there. We need to be valued and appreciated. This is not about getting verbal praise. It’s about knowing. It is about watching a patient feeling better physically. Or a student doing better in school because you helped them. It is about watching your company grow in revenue because you effectively trained your sales team.
If you are not growing, your work will get less exciting over time. Growth is necessary to keep our passion alive. Many get bored and lose interest in their line of work when they feel like they are no longer growing in their profession. Growth can be measured in learning new techniques, making discoveries, growing within the job itself and getting promoted.
What would you say about all your relationships at work? Do you feel supported? How do you like the team you’re working with? Do you trust them? What about your manager? One of the most common reasons why people feel miserable at work is because they don’t agree with their management.
Your work relationships can be both a source of joy at work and a trap. Sometimes people will stay at dead-end unrewarding jobs simply because they love their team.
This is a big issue and it is not about how much you are getting paid, since we all have different salary requirements. This is about getting paid your value and your worth. Most of the time, the market will dictate your value. For instance, you can find out what others get paid by looking up salaries or asking your friends.
Sometimes the market is well known for underpaying certain professions (for example, teachers) and people go there knowing that they will not get paid much. The question is, are you really happy with your salary or do you just pretend to be OK with it? A low salary can also be felt as a lack of value and worth. A typical result of getting underpaid year after year – loss of passion.
Does your work allow you to have a healthy work-life balance? Do you get to spend enough time with people who matter most to you? If not, eventually you will burn out and will have to make a difficult choice. Many people have chosen to change careers because their current line of work doesn’t allow them to spend enough time with their families.
Passion is like a fire, once ignited, it bursts out in flames and you feel unstoppable. You come home and you can’t stop talking about your new job. When you talk about what you do, you start “geeking out”. You may be exhausted by the end of the day, but in the morning, you are energized again and can’t wait to get back to work. Pay attention to these 6 pillars and make sure your needs are met. That’s how you keep your passion alive in your career.
Katherine Bouglai is a career transition coach and the founder of Blossom Career. She works with professionals in technology who have recently lost their jobs and are looking for successful career transition. Her specialties include career change, resume development, job search strategies, job interview preparations, offer negotiations and other related skills.