> The core claim behind the value of following your passion is that if you find a career that matches your passions, you’ll be satisfied in your work. However, our research has shown that matching your work with your passions is not an especially good way to find a satisfying job. Why?
> First, we’re bad at predicting in which jobs we’ll be most happy in and most good at just by thinking about it. This suggests that reflecting on where you’ll be most passionate won’t give you accurate results. We tend to only hear the stories in which someone followed their passion and it worked out. But there’s likely to be many stories of people who followed their passions and didn’t end up as happy as they expected. Cal Newport tells the story of a young investment banker, who quit his job to live in a zen monastery,4 and found he was just as miserable as before!
> Second, research shows the degree of match between your interests and your work is not especially important for predicting where you’ll be most satisfied Following your passion, therefore, causes you to overly focus on just one criterion, and it’s not even the most important one. We found that the most important four factors for being satisfied in your work are:
> 1. Engaging, meaningful work: the extent to which you have variety, autonomy, a sense of completion, feedback and work you feel makes a difference.
> 2. Getting on with your colleagues: the extent to which you get help from, like and form meaningful relationships with your colleagues.
> 3. Personal fit: the extent to which you’re good at your job.
> 4. Hygiene factors: do you have reasonable hours, job security, a short commute and sufficient pay?
> Although having a match between your interests and your work should be helpful (in particular, it’ll increase the personal fit factor), it’s possible to have a job that satisfies all these factors without having much of a match. [...]
> Third, following your passions can cause you to be too narrow in your search for work. You can only be passionate about activities you’ve already tried, but when you’re twenty, you probably haven’t tried much of the world of work. [...] Moreover, focusing on passion can encourage you to only consider careers that are immediately satisfying (because when you find your “match”, you’ll be satisfied). But, as Cal Newport has argued, most careers are not immediate satisfying. [...]
> Finally, “follow your passion” encourages the idea that there’s one perfect path for you – the one you’re passionate about. As we’ve seen, this is wrong because you can become passionate about many different areas. More problematically, it raises your expectations extremely high. Career decisions are difficult, involve lots of uncertainty and require tough tradeoffs. You won’t be able to find the perfect path straight away. Rather than try to immediately identify your perfect career, accept that careers take time to build. Focus on taking good steps in the right direction, and continuously improving over time.