As a work-life and career coach, I certainly believe that having passion for your work is a good thing. But I don't believe we should expect to feel passionate about our work all the time. Even if you are doing work that is a perfect match for you, it is unlikely that you'll feel passionate about it on a daily basis. Most people experience a satisfaction ebb and flow in what they do, and I think we all have days or hours when it's all we can do to slog through: left, right, left, right, left, right.
It's also possible that at this moment in your life, your passion is elsewhere -- it's not in your paid work. If you're raising a family, maybe you're passionate about your children, and your job is just your job. Maybe you're passionate about your garden, or your dearly loved spouse, or your music, or the conservation work you do in your town. Maybe you're passionate about election reform or moderating CO2 emissions or getting surplus food to hungry people in the world.
It's also possible that you're in the midst of a life challenge that just doesn't leave a lot of room for passion in your work. You're recovering from a deep loss, you're dealing with illness in yourself or a family member, you're working through a life transition of one sort or another. As you move through this challenge, you will once again have the bandwidth to feel connected to your work in a central way, and have the possibility of passion.
With so many resources available that encourage us to find our passion and our bliss in the work we do, I think sometimes people's expectations can get out of hand. I'm the last one to say, "tough it out" if you're doing work that's really a bad fit for you. But expecting that doing the "right" work will be a constant diet of joy and fulfillment is setting yourself up for disappointment. I think that even in the best of circumstances, there is a natural ebb and flow of highs and lows in one's work that's just the nature of the beast.
And if you're consistently not happy enough in the work you're doing, then by all means get yourself some career help and make a course correction. You always, always, always have choices.
Copyright 2006 Sharon Teitelbaum. All rights reserved.
Sharon Teitelbaum, Master Certified Coach and author of "Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued: Restoring Work-Life Balance,” helps busy professionals re-claim their work-life balance. Her coaching, writing, and speaking provide practical, tactical solutions for balance and career challenges. Visit Sharon's website at www.stcoach.com and subscribe to her e-course "The 5 Keys to Reclaiming Your Work-Life Balance" to receive practical tips for work-life success.