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The conventional wisdom of career success – follow your passion – is seriously flawed.
The things that make a great job, I discovered, are rare and valuable. If you want them in your working life, you need something rare and valuable to offer in return.
In other words, you need to be good at something before you can expect a good job.
“The key thing is to force yourself through the work, force the skills to come; that’s the hardest phase”.
It’s hard to predict in advance what you’ll eventually grow to love.
There are many complex reasons for workplace satisfaction, but the reductive notion of matching your job to a pre-existing passion is not one of them.
In Wrzesniewski’s research, the happiest, most passionate employees are not those who followed their passion into a position, but instead those who have been around long enough to become good at what they do.
Self-Determination Theory (SDT) tells us motivation, in the workplace or elsewhere, requires that you fulfill three basic psychological needs – factors described as the “nutriments” required intrinsically motivated for your work:
- Autonomy: the feeling that you have control over your day, and that your actions are important
- Competence: the feeling that you are good at what you do
- Relatedness: the feeling of connection to other people
If you’re not focusing on becoming so good they can’t ignore you, you’re going to be left behind.