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Passion at Work

Passion drives me to enjoy my work and helps me overcome workplace obstacles. Whenever I have doubts about my abilities, I remember the positive effects of my work. "The only way to do great work is to love what you do," (Steve Jobs).

By Emile Fakhoury
However, experiences taught me the side effects and why this could sometimes hammer your career progression and emotions. In reality, I have lived and observed that I became deeply invested, so in case of changes in your organisation or challenges to my work, I perceived that the other party doesn't value my efforts.

When you are passionate about your work, you risk experiencing similar suffering.

Perspectives on passion at work
From the latest Harvard Business School study: Employees and Employers can have conflicting views about what passion at work means, which could lead to unhappy workers and frustrated managers.

It can be difficult for employers to recognise that their understanding of passion can sometimes create challenges for employees. In some cases, this may require rethinking the manager’s role in the organisation. It’s not enough to hire people for passion.

Leaders almost also earn how to manage ‘passion at work’.

Employees want more meaning in their work and connection with personal values.

Passion is energy-consuming and may significantly relate to how you feel about yourself.

Managers often align with this view of ‘passion at work’: they want to structure organisations around a common purpose. At the same time, however, some nuanced differences may exist: managers recognise that the employee’s passion can also produce valued work outcomes that can sometimes create difficulties.

At the same time, passion without challenges may not be passion worth pursuing.

The conflict
When employees notice that these two understandings of passion diverge, they experience uncertainty in determining what to do about it. On the one hand, employees feel a deep appreciation for being in an organisation that values passion. What they are asked to do may sometimes align with their actions and make it more challenging for them to focus on what they care about.

This uncertainty stresses the employee’s mindset and affects their performance when they cannot find a favourable resolution.

In some instances, some employees may not speak up or find it challenging to express their feelings about their issues. The expectation is that you say yes to working longer and harder. Employees don’t say no to an opportunity that would advance organisational goals, even if it isn’t necessarily aligned with their own.

Blinded by their engagement in the corporate cause, most managers may also need to realise a problem exists or fail to seek out information that may disconfirm their positive view of passion.

Way forward
Who wouldn't want to work for a company that values passion? Both parties can make more collaborate before hiring or joining a new role to set the expectations for passion at work.

  • Leaders should actively generate conversations about how a dynamic organisation can create challenges for some employees; communicating is essential to find the challenges and learn about their employees’ passion.
  • Leaders would benefit from reflecting on their ‘passion’ and setting expectations early to avoid disappointment and hire the right person for the correct position.

With these recommendations, passion need not be an obstacle but a way to benefit employers and employees to achieve their goals and potential and their ‘passion at work.

author avatar
Emile Fakhoury
Corporate Expert Writer, Business Professional in Energy/Water/Oil/Gas, Specialist in Coaching/Training, Association of Project Management UK Fellow Member. The professional who believes that adaptation to various social or corporate environments is the only way to survive and strive. Master the rules of the game in order to reach the top and change the rules.
Emile Fakhoury
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