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Passions don’t always have to be pursued through work, says an article in Harvard Business Review co-authored by Dr Jochen Menges of Cambridge Judge Business School.

A font view of a man paddle boarding in the sea.

Passions can help make our lives satisfying and meaningful, but they need not be pursued through work, says an article published in Harvard Business Review co-authored by Dr Jochen Menges of Cambridge Judge Business School.

Jochen Menges.
Dr Jochen Menges

“Passions can define us as individuals,” says the article. “But passion doesn’t necessarily have to define our work. Taking a broader view of passion – as something that can be pursued through work, but also outside of it – can help us live passion-fueled lives in whatever way works best for us.”

The article points out that while combining work and passion can make life more fulfilling, there can also be considerable downsides – for example, a passion for nature may make being a park ranger attractive, but this may entail remote locations that offer little social activities.

The article says that rather than only thinking about pursuing passion through work, that young people should also think about how a career can be a “conduit” to passion – in other words, which industries will allow someone to pursue his or her passion.

“Drawing a line between what you love and what you do from nine-to-five can help you build healthy boundaries between your work and personal lives, and allow you to build and become a part of communities who share your interests,” the article says. 

The article concludes by advocating that people create a plan for their passion, including asking whether a certain job will provide the time, money and energy for the chosen passion’s pursuit.

The article – entitled “Your job doesn’t have to be your passion” – is co-authored by Dr Lauren C. Howe, Assistant Professor at the University of Zurich; Dr Jon M. Jachimowicz, Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School; and Dr Jochen Menges, University Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour at Cambridge Judge Business School and Professor at the University of Zurich.