The Pros and Cons of Having Passion for Your Job

Work Life Balance signpost You often hear the expression that “you need to have passion for your work.” That sounds wonderful, but it is important to understand what passion really is.  The actual definition of passions is; “a powerful emotion or feeling.”  In knowing that, how can we apply it to what we do at our job?  Many times when a person is a hard worker and tends to be a little on the obsessive side of what they do people will say that person is passionate about what they do.  But is that true or are they obsessive?  The link below is to a very interesting article in the Harvard Business Review blog that is worth reading.  The author Scott Barry Kaufman talks about passion for your work in two different ways, one being harmonious and the other obsessive.  When someone  has passion in a harmonious way about their work they have “joy” when doing it.  They are able to separate personal life from work life and enjoy both.  They are less likely to burnout and have higher levels of well-being.  Since they can leave work at work, when they return to work they are refreshed and ready to go for the new day.  When you have harmonious passion for what you do you are able to be more flexible at work and ultimately overall more successful.

Now for those who have obsessive passion they are emotionally dependent on their work, they have an uncontrollable urge to engage in their work, bring it into all aspects of their life because it is where their value is.  Because of this their job brings higher levels of negative affect over time in their life.  Their moods are dependent on what is happening at work, they cannot let it go.  They have increased chances of total burnout and major stress, they are obsessed with their work.

I think we all have probably known people who are either harmonious or obsessive about their work, which person did you find to be happier?  Which do you think is healthier? Which one describes you?

Your Passion for Work Could Ruin Your Career


7 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Having Passion for Your Job

  1. Thanks for the post and sharing the article.

    This is a great reminder to live a more balanced life. I know I can get a little obsessed about things I’m working on sometimes. I do my best to participate in other activities that get me away from work. And I’ve found that this does indeed make work even more productive once I go back to it.

    There is a fine line between passion and obsession. But if you can just back off a little, it seems like you can be passionate without having the problems of being obsessive.

    • Yes indeed it does make for better productivity, but I am like you and need to keep this reminder right in front of me as I can get so caught up in what I am doing that I don’t even want to do anything else and yet when I do I am much happier. 🙂

  2. I think the ease of communication (smartphones) has made the line between passionate and obsessive even more blurred. It helps to unplug occassionally and pursue some other interests. Thanks for the reminder.

    • You are so right about this one. I really have had to become more disciplined with my phone I was checking it all of the time so I didn’t miss anything coming in. But then I realized that I am more productive if I keep it put away and set times to check it and guess what I found out? I wasn’t missing anything, except for being a bit obsessed with my phone. 🙂

  3. It’s important to have the team decompress. I’ve worked with people where all they do is think about the job. That’s unhealthy. There’s times when you can be so immersed you can’t see the forest for the trees.

    Studies have shown to take time out and have fun. It’s great for the brain and subconscious. During these moments of relaxation is when people have some of their greatest ideas.

    • Hi Steve, you are very right about coming up with great ideas when you are taking a little time out. We have taken fun days from work and they certainly have created synergy between the staff. Thank you for your comment.

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