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Do you love your work or just work for a living?

Does your profession come from your personal passion, or do you work it because it works?

Maybe some people really love what they do for a living. Sure, we all know people like that. They seem to leap out of bed each morning, raring to go. They can’t wait for the weekend to end, so they can jump right back into their livelihoods.

Or maybe not.

How many more people go through the motions, whether they honestly enjoy their jobs or not? Certainly, they appreciate being able to pay their bills, keep the home afloat, and perhaps make a mark in the world somewhere. Perhaps their occupations occupy lots of their time, while they earn enough to finance their real passions. Maybe they have hobbies, personal ministries, or a volunteer pursuits. That counts for plenty, so they show up for work.

Most American workers seem to feel at least somewhat disengaged from their jobs, according to a 2015 Gallop poll. That doesn’t mean employees aren’t meeting deadlines or quotas or that they are shirking their responsibilities across the board. They just aren't feeling it.

Where’s the passion?

The Journal of Applied Psychology recently published the findings of a Tel Aviv University study (in collaboration with the London School of Economics), examining the costs or benefits of pursuing one’s passions in the workplace. The research followed 450 high school music students for 11 years, tracing their careers. Those who carved out music careers earned statistically less than those who worked in other fields and continued musical pursuits outside of their jobs.  On the other hand, the professional musicians indicated higher career satisfaction then their musically-oriented counterparts who were earning  more money by working in other industries.

How might these findings be applied to folks in any career path?

"If you experience a strong calling, you need to be cognizant of your relative preferences for intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards and potential trade-offs between the two, then decide accordingly," said Daniel Heller of Tel Aviv University's Recanati School of Business.

Perhaps chasing career dreams has a cost. But maybe it’s worth it, if the desire is strong enough.

Does security trump stimulation, when it comes to choosing a career? Is value worth more than values? Or is it more a matter of duty overriding desire to follow one’s personal or professional propensities?

Adapted from public domain photo

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