For many, an occupation is just that, a job and a paycheck.  The majority of the population will have to work 40+ years, for some even longer, before the possibility of retirement is an option.  Winning the lottery, or receiving an inheritance are pipe dreams for those looking to get out of a dead end job. But for those who have found occupations that offer meaningful challenges, opportunities for growth and play up an individual’s passions, counting the days until a possible retirement seem far less important.

“Few people discover the work they love,” writes Lance Secretan in his book, Inspirational Leadership.

Many professionals have long since faced the facts that finding a meaningful position is a dream long since given up.  These individuals measure each day by a clock hanging on the wall and count the hours, minutes, seconds, until the work day is over.  Finding passion in one’s occupation can be difficult, but not impossible.

Passion

Kenneth A. Tucker, Coauthor of Animals, Inc, states:

Simply put, passion, or its absence, isn’t just a philosophical or psychological matter — it’s a business problem, too. Far too many companies lack employees who are passionate about their work, and they flounder, or just get by.

But some companies instill passion and thrive as a result. Ask Herb Kelleher, founder and chairman of Southwest Airlines, and he will tell you that passion means money in the bank for his company. Fly on one of Southwest’s flights, and you soon come to know why their slogan, “the airline that love built,” articulates the passion of their employees. “At far too many companies, when you come into the office you put on a mask,” writes Kelleher in Leader to Leader. “We try not to hire people who are humorless, self-centered, or complacent, so when they come to work, we want them, not their corporate clones. They are what makes us different, and in most enterprises, different is better.”

Passion helps to engage an organization. When people discover the work that they love, work becomes more than a job — it becomes a unique calling, a life’s mission. People with passion for their work engage each other and their customers.

Kaihan Krippendorff of Fast Company provides 14 tips to finding passion and purpose for work –  read them, and the rest of this post on the Career Link Blog.

Jessica Bauer is a Career Specialist in the Graduate Business Career Services office.