Contributes to the Continuation of Social Inequality
While many people subscribe to the idea that one should follow one’s passion, not everyone is in a position to parlay that interest into a secure career that offers competitive pay.
Those who come from affluent families are in a better position to wait until a position in their area of interest becomes available without having to worry about their ability to pay off college loans in the interim. They are also in a better position to take unpaid internships to get their feet on the ground while their families pay for their housing or let them live at home. This is because their parents are in a better financial position.
In addition, they frequently have access to the social networks of their parents, which facilitates their job search. According to surveys, people who come from working-class families and who are the first in their families to graduate from college have a greater risk than their more affluent peers of landing unskilled jobs with low pay when they seek their passions. This is true regardless of the line of work.
Colleges and universities, workspaces, and counselors that encourage the path of “follow your passion” for all, without leveling up the playing field, contribute to the perpetuation of socioeconomic inequalities among people who are seeking to advance their careers.
Those who advocate the path of “follow your passion” for everyone, on the other hand, might be overlooking the reality that not everyone has the same capacity to achieve greatness while following that piece of advice.
An Impediment to One’s Health
According to the findings of my research, advocates of following one’s passion believe that doing so is the best way to choose a line of work. This is the case not only because doing so may lead to better employment opportunities, but also because following one’s passion is thought to result in a more fulfilling life. Those who are looking to find their passion often do the work they do with a significant portion of their sense of identity.
However, the workforce is not organized to cultivate our genuine sense of self as its primary focus. Research conducted on formerly employed people who were let go has shown that those individuals took great pride in their jobs and felt as if they had lost a significant part of themselves when they were let go, along with their means of subsistence.
When we place our identities in the hands of the global economy and depend on our employees to offer us a sense of purpose, we put our identities in jeopardy.
The passion principle is beneficial to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, not just those with significant financial resources. Employers who hire workers with a passion for their work do as well. We thought it would be interesting to see how prospective employers would react if job applicants presented them with a variety of reasons why they were interested in working for their company.
Not only do prospective employers favor applicants who are passionate about the job over candidates who wanted the position for other reasons, but companies also intentionally take advantage of applicants’ passions: Passionate applicants garnered a greater level of interest from prospective employers, in part because the employers believed that the applicants would put in extra effort at their present employment without expecting a pay raise.
Contributes to Maintaining the Tradition of Excessive Overwork
During conversations with college students and employees with college degrees, it was discovered that a sizeable percentage were willing to forego a good salary, job stability, and leisure time to do work that they are passionate about. In a survey that was conducted, it was found that nearly half of workers with college degrees, or 46%, prioritized interest or enthusiasm for their jobs as their top priority in a prospective employer. When compared to this, only 21% of people ranked salary as their top priority, and only 15% ranked maintaining a healthy work-life balance as their top priority. Several individuals agreed with the statement that they would “work 90 hours a week” and “eat ramen noodles every night” if it meant they could pursue the career they are most enthusiastic about.
Even though many working professionals looking for employment in their area of interest to escape the monotony of putting in long hours performing duties to which they aren’t personally committed, the pursuit of one’s passion ironically contributes to the maintenance of the cultural expectation of overwork. The majority of people who are looking for their passion told me that they are willing to put in long hours at work as long as it is work that they are passionate about.
Discounts the Existence of Inequality in the Labor Market
We could conclude that the passion principle is more than just a set of guidelines for its adherents to use when making choices about their own lives. Many people see it as an explanation for the inequality that exists within the workforce. For instance, those who adhere to the passion principle are more likely to say that women aren’t recognized well in engineering because they tried to follow their passion somewhere else, rather than recognizing the profound structural and societal origins of this underrepresentation. In other words, advocates of the passion principle tend to rationalize away patterns of inequality in the labor market as the positive result of individuals pursuing their passions.
Avoiding Potential Problems
People might want to focus their career choices on more than just whether or not those choices depict their passion to avoid the pitfalls that are presented here. In addition to receiving a paycheck, what else do you require from your work? Hours that can be anticipated? Enjoyable coworkers? Advantages? A respectful boss?
For those of you who are currently employed in jobs that you’re enthusiastic about, it is encouraged that you broaden your portfolio of the forms in which you make sense – to cultivate hobbies, activities, community work, and identities that are completely separate from your work. How are you going to find the time to participate in these other activities that will help you find meaning and fulfillment?
One more thing to think about is whether or not you are being compensated adequately for the additional effort that is fueled by the passion that you put into your job. If you are an employee of the organization, does your boss know that you spent the weekends reading novels on team management or that you spent after-hours time guiding the latest person on your team? If we perform uncompensated labor for our employer because we are so enthusiastic about our work, we are complicit in our exploitation.
In the course of the research for “The Trouble with Passion,” came across some startling revelations that call into question the conventional methods of career counseling and mentoring. Each year, vast numbers of people who have completed high school or college prepare to enter the workforce full-time, and millions more people reevaluate the jobs that they currently hold. The friends, parents, teachers, and career mentors who advise them to begin to question whether or not encouraging them to continue pursuing their passion must be something that may end up being detrimental to them rather than beneficial.