Magazine article People & Strategy

So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

Magazine article People & Strategy

So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

Article excerpt

So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

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Author: Cal Newport

Publisher: Business Plus

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"So Good They Can't Ignore You" garnered the top review rating for the compelling premise that "'Follow your passion' might just be terrible advice" for job seekers and those looking to love their work. Conventional wisdom suggests that we will be happiest when we're able to turn a passion into a form of income--that doing what we love will yield the best careers. Author Cal Newport debunks this theory in the first pages of this book and spends the remainder offering alternative explanations and advice to inspire people to pursue their dream jobs from the fiscal safety of their current roles.

The key takeaway is that readers should not follow their passions as the first step to a dream job; it can be detrimental. First, the author suggests it is not reasonable to assume that everyone knows what their pre-existing passion is or that it is just waiting to be discovered. Many of us will have to let our passions evolve and develop over time. Second, the pursuit of a magical dream job built around passion can lead to significant discord and unhappiness when the reality of the working world is experienced. It seems that a whole generation of current college graduates is learning these lessons the hard way in the current economic environment. If they job-hop from one job to the next hoping to figure out their true calling, they have done themselves a disservice because they have not developed what the author refers to as "career capital."

So if one is not supposed to follow one's passion, how should one aim for happiness? The author spends multiple chapters explaining how hard work can lead to successful careers. He explains how if readers can build a "craftsmen mindset" to really value the quality of their work, they will build up required skills and competencies to have "career capital. …

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