I have seen people espousing that following one’s passion can be a viable career choice but they often forget a very important point – your passion needs to be in demand for someone who will be willing to pay for it. If no one is willing to pay for your passion then you are likely to starve with your dopamine fulfillment, or if your passion is not something the world needs then it will bring satisfaction to only you but not serve any purpose beyond that.
I wanted to work on something that has meaning, is important, and is useful to others – as simple as it sounds; I thought this could be my purpose. I believe passion at work develops slowly and it is rare to find someone loving their career before they became good at it. I build my purpose in my company by actively investing in finding it. Purpose at work should not necessarily derive from path-breaking achievements; it can come from the simplest of things that have meaning for others and give you joy. I have seen salaried people feeling happy about the paycheck hitting their account on the exact date every month and the IT technicians derive happiness from seeing that their efforts have saved precious data.
I believe our older generations were much happier even with their relatively simpler and non-exciting jobs. Their routine was to go to work, come back in the evening, and spend time with family. They had a higher purpose, which was to achieve a stable life and provide a good future to the family. Though they derived their purpose outside of work, it provided them with the means to achieve that purpose. They derived happiness from watching their kids grow, participating in the community, and watering the plants. Personally, ‘follow your passion’ feels like a piece of impractical advice even though it may have been well-intended. The irony is when you constantly try to find a career based on passion, it may become just another reason of dissatisfaction with your current career. Hence a better alternative to find fulfillment from your work is to be to actively find and build your purpose – whether at work or outside.