Oh My! Passion in the Workplace!

Employee engagement, motivation, passion“Real Passion in the Workplace.” “When Employee Engagement Becomes a Public Affair.” “Be Passionate to Become Sexessful.” Sorry, these article titles aren’t what I meant by “passion in the workplace.”  Passion is important in our work, but it should be passion for your work. C’mon! You should be ashamed of yourself!

Now that we’ve clarified that, let’s talk about passion for one’s work. There are two general schools of thought:

One camp feels that management must actively “engage employees.” They seek to find new and better ways to squeeze engagement out of the staff. It’s as if they expect that passion will come oozing out of the eyes and ears of each employee.

There’s a surprising amount of this going on. A Google search today for the words, “motivate your employees,” quotes included, returned 6,500,000 hits. Woof! That’s almost 3 times as many as a search for “I hate my boss”!

Then there is the other camp. Here, management seeks to engage employees by helping the employee find better use for his or her personal skills, interests and abilities in the workplace. I live in this camp, but I add one twist: I believe that it is also management’s job to help employees to discover themselves. Management is often ignorant of this, doesn’t have the inclination to institute, or doesn’t really have a grasp on how to implement it.

But I’m more interested in a third camp. It’s a camp of one: you. And you are the only person who can make it happen. Be prepared; the process can be scary.

The very best method for you to achieve success may involve leaving your job. If you are currently unemployed, it may mean reconsidering every job for which you may apply. This method involves turning this idea of employee engagement around completely. And here’s how I express it:

“You don’t need a passion for your job… you need a job for your passion.”

This means that you will have the greatest success when you 1) do the introspection necessary to truly discover yourself, and then 2) find a job through which you can best utilize your passions.

You really need to ask yourself just how much control you want your employer to have over your life. A change may not be necessary.  Still, a benevolent organization should not be your parent.

Here’s how to think through the process:

1) Do some self-discovery. (I can point you to some great resources.)
2) Think about what accomplishments you want to make in your lifetime.
3) Consider how your interests (see #2) and skills fit with your current work.
4) Start the search process with your current employer – tell your employer that you’d like to utilize more of your abilities at work.

Things don’t have to be perfect, but you can make them significantly better when you discover more of yourself and how you might exercise more of your gifts in the workplace. You should be more passionate about your work… just don’t try it with another employee!

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