Following Your Passion...Sort of

“Follow your passion.” Many Millennials heard this cliché career advice so often growing up that it has become almost ingrained in the generation’s collective psyche.  Obviously, this advice came with a heaping pile of salt.  Follow your passion, as long as it’s realistic and can financially sustain you.  As Millennials have entered the workplace, the harsh reality has set in that their job may very well not align with their passion. 

This search for passion is the psychological foundation for the more tangible priorities that Millennials seek in their work.  They may not be passionate about what they’re doing, but maybe they can be passionate about other aspects of their work experience.  As this and many other articles indicate, flexible work hours, work-life balance, the ability to make a difference, and a collaborative culture are top priorities for what Millennials now seek in a workplace.  Mundane administrative tasks may not be so bad if the end product is helping people.  Another pointless meeting may be somewhat tolerable if colleagues enjoy being around each other.   Or maybe someone doesn’t believe in the product or like the people, but at least he or she has time to pursue interests outside of work.

Millennials have recalibrated how to find passion in their work, and it often has nothing to do with the work itself. For Millennials struggling to find their career passion, they should look beyond what they do at work.  Their passion may lie in where they work, with/for whom they work, how they work, and why they work.