Is "follow your passion" the right advice to give people starting out?

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Campitor
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Re: Is "follow your passion" the right advice to give people starting out?

Post by Campitor » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:32 pm

In my life I've had my share of what other people would call "miserable" jobs: janitor, security guard, dishwasher, construction, etc. I'm currently employed in the high-tech industry earning an awesome salary and love my job.

I put "miserable" within quotes above because I was able to find joy in every one of those jobs. Every job has the potential for gamification or moments of beauty. When I was janitor my responsibility was to make sure the floors by the entrances and customer areas were spotless and waxed. Every night I would experiment with the water temperature and wax to see what combination would yield the cleanest floors and brightest shine (My gamification system at work). I stumbled across adding a small amount of wax to water that was roughly 100 degrees Fahrenheit. When I finished waxing the floor with this mix, the floors looked incredibly clean and had a mirror shine - the satisfaction and "flow" that I felt was amazing - it also reduced the amount of time that it took to clean and wax since I was doing both at the same time. The next day the CEO was talking to my boss and I heard him mention the floors I was responsible for. I thought I was in trouble for something since the CEO never talked to my boss before. I saw my boss pointing at me and the CEO looking directly at me. He walked over and shook my hand and told me that he has never seen the floors so clean or a mirror finish like the one I had achieved. He then turned to my boss and told him that under no circumstances was I to be transferred to any other janitorial duties and to bump up my pay by 50 cents an hour.

The security job sucked and was boring at first before I decided to make a game out of it. I took up people watching in earnest since it was part of my job. I started noticing things about people that I never noticed before like how different body types affect the way people walk. How certain ethnicity have similar leg structures therefore similar gaits and mannerisms. How couples who are fighting assume different body language. How people act and talk when angry, slightly drunk, annoyed, etc. How to spot shop lifters (empty bags, over-sized coats, too much head swiveling, staring at the cashier too much). I saw beautiful sunrises, amazing street performances, couples having sex in weird places thinking no-one could see them, and the cops playing cat-and-mouse with hookers, thieves, and troublemakers. The "boring" job became a front row seat to a human circus. I know what Shakespeare meant by "All the world is a stage".

I'm sure my current job will one day come to an end but I'm having a blast doing it like every other job I've had. Passion is not a passive item that is found nor is it an end goal to be captured like a trophy. Passion is like art - it only comes about when you create it, work at it, and practice it. Saying "follow your passion" is like saying "follow your art" - art isn't followed but made - you lead your art - you're art never leads you. YOU lead your passion - your passion should never lead YOU. I know this sounds corny but I've lived it every day of my life. All of my coworkers, past and present, always remark how happy I am and how incredible my work output is. I try to explain my gamification and passion philosophy but they only smirk at me and walk away shaking their heads. Learn how to create passion in all that you do and you will never be miserable again. Self made passion leads to success, monetary gain, and opportunities.
Last edited by Campitor on Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Dragline
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Re: Is "follow your passion" the right advice to give people starting out?

Post by Dragline » Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:26 pm

+1

Farm_or
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Re: Is "follow your passion" the right advice to give people starting out?

Post by Farm_or » Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:07 pm

Great story! Awesome attitude!

Reminds me of the tale of two quarry workers:
The first laments that he's just breaking damned rocks, but the second worker exclaims proudly, "I am building a cathedral!"

CS
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Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:24 pm

Re: Is "follow your passion" the right advice to give people starting out?

Post by CS » Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:15 am

Of course I cannot find it, now that I want it, but I read a study a few years back that passion was correlated with the number of years on the job.

In other words, if you just started the job, you had little connection with it, but if you'd be doing it for twenty years, then it was more likely to be a calling.

The interesting part of this study was this: The correlation seemed to be higher than just random, i.e. it wasn't that the only people who stayed with their jobs were those that were passionate for that job from the start, but rather no one was passionate from the start, but those that stayed developed a deeper connection with their work.

Which is not at all how our culture portrays passion for a career.

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FBeyer
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Re: Is "follow your passion" the right advice to give people starting out?

Post by FBeyer » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:15 pm

CS wrote:Of course I cannot find it, now that I want it, but I read a study a few years back that passion was correlated with the number of years on the job.

In other words, if you just started the job, you had little connection with it, but if you'd be doing it for twenty years, then it was more likely to be a calling.

The interesting part of this study was this: The correlation seemed to be higher than just random, i.e. it wasn't that the only people who stayed with their jobs were those that were passionate for that job from the start, but rather no one was passionate from the start, but those that stayed developed a deeper connection with their work.

Which is not at all how our culture portrays passion for a career.
Sooooooooooo, Stockholm Syndrome in the workplace?

CS
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:24 pm

Re: Is "follow your passion" the right advice to give people starting out?

Post by CS » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:47 pm

FBeyer wrote:
CS wrote:Of course I cannot find it, now that I want it, but I read a study a few years back that passion was correlated with the number of years on the job.

In other words, if you just started the job, you had little connection with it, but if you'd be doing it for twenty years, then it was more likely to be a calling.

The interesting part of this study was this: The correlation seemed to be higher than just random, i.e. it wasn't that the only people who stayed with their jobs were those that were passionate for that job from the start, but rather no one was passionate from the start, but those that stayed developed a deeper connection with their work.

Which is not at all how our culture portrays passion for a career.
Sooooooooooo, Stockholm Syndrome in the workplace?
Haha! Yes, probably that exactly. The known evil that the worker becomes so good at navigating...

Augustus
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Re: Is "follow your passion" the right advice to give people starting out?

Post by Augustus » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:08 pm

Re: Original Question

No. The point of working is to earn a living. The correct advice should be "follow the money." If you can work your passion into it then great, but your passion isn't the primary objective. Your goal should be to maximize your earnings, i.e. doing as little work as possible for as much money as possible. Granted, some things supersede this, you don't want to be depressed or suicidal, as money does you no good if you're dead, but within those constraints maximizing earnings is the most logical thing to do, because if you work less and earn more, you have more time to live.

There are so many variations on people, that I'm sure there are some people who love their jobs. I am not one of those people. I love my freedom, and you do not have freedom at a job, you have to perform consistently. My passions are not consistent, I like to explore and do different things each day, thus my passions and my job are mutually exclusive except for the rare days that they coincide.

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vezkor
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Re: Is "follow your passion" the right advice to give people starting out?

Post by vezkor » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:54 pm

To the original point: it depends on your passion. In order to get to a sustainable place, you must accumulate enough claims on future goods that passive income can replace active income. If your passion is lucrative (and likely to remain lucrative for the accumulation phase) then Absolutely follow it tirelessly and become FI young.

If your passion is less valuable to society from a monetary standpoint, then put it on the backburner until you have the freedom afforded by FI to pursue it with the intensity you desire.

Always keep in mind that passions and desires often change throughout your life (all the more reason ERE is so important!) and one of the more terrible situations I can imagine myself in is one of being completely burnt-out of a career that I was initially very passionate about. Talk about losing your main source of enjoyment! Filling that void would be difficult.

James_0011
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Re: Is "follow your passion" the right advice to give people starting out?

Post by James_0011 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:46 pm

No this is horrible advice. I wish someone had pointed this out to me when I was younger.

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