Article: Are you too passionate about your job?

Life @ Work

Are you too passionate about your job?

Could calling your job your 'baby' be secretly sabotaging your success and well-being? Discover the hidden dangers of work obsession.
Are you too passionate about your job?

Being committed to one's work does not mean losing oneself in it. Excessive emotional involvement often achieves the opposite of our intentions: it hinders our ability to make objective decisions and burdens us with unnecessary stress.

This is evident when people refer to their work or endeavour as their "baby" (it seems that some people do this). While this appropriation may appear to signal extreme dedication and passion, it is not always conducive to success. Although engagement and dedication are important, maintaining a healthy level of detachment is equally crucial.

"In business, you need to maintain reason and avoid being driven or influenced too heavily by emotion to stay on track. Do what’s viable and what will put you in the best position. That often means putting feelings to the side and being guided by facts," said Michelle Battersby, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Sunroom, as quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald.

We are more than our jobs

Viewing our jobs as extensions of ourselves can lead to over-identification. This excessive emotional attachment can lead to burnout, stress, and impaired decision-making. Individuals may find it challenging to disconnect from work, balance work and personal life, and end up sacrificing relationships and mental well-being in pursuit of professional success.

Emotional distance does not imply apathy or disengagement; rather, it's about maintaining a healthy perspective and boundaries between work and personal life. By cultivating this, people can approach their jobs with clarity, objectivity, and resilience. This allows for better decision-making, effective problem-solving, and a more sustainable approach to work.

Neither obsessed nor irresponsible, the healthy approach is a middle ground. Toni Morrison, Nobel laureate in literature, outlined three keys to this balance in an article she wrote for the New Yorker magazine in 2017:

1. You do the work; it doesn't do you.

2. Your real life is the life you live with your family.

3. You are not the job you do; you are the person you are.

Are you passionate about your work or obsessed?

It's not a straightforward question, as the line between them is very fine, and it's challenging to discern when it has been crossed.

A study published in Psychology Today in Science Direct highlights the differences between a "harmonious passion, which requires one to pursue an activity with a sense of balance and flexibility," and a "red flag: an obsessive passion that suggests an overwhelming urge to engage in an activity and become wholly preoccupied with it."

The latter is dangerous because it brings with it anxiety, stress, and psychological and sometimes even physical discomfort. Yet, as it is often associated with commitment, dedication, and productivity, it is the more common form. It is precisely this form of 'passion' that results from crossing the healthy boundaries in an individual's relationship with their work.

Crossing that line is a direct route to workaholism, a public health issue linked with anxiety and depression, which, according to the International Labour Organization, results in the loss of 12 billion working days and costs the global economy nearly one trillion dollars.

Therefore, giving work its rightful place in everyone's life involves setting boundaries between work and personal life, not only designing schedules but prioritizing self-care and avoiding dependence or over-identification with work.

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Topics: Life @ Work, #Culture, #Wellbeing

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