The ‘Do What You Love’ Myth: Passion as a Career Isn’t Always Best [W&S 63 ft MP Tin Pei Ling]

When should your job align with your passion? That was the question debated by MPs, entrepreneurs and career experts on the latest episode of the Wise and Shine podcast.

Special guest:
The youngest elected MP Tin Pei Ling shares her journey as the youngest elected Member of Parliament in Singapore, highlighting the challenges and responsibilities that come with the role.

The topic of conversation revolves around the idea of whether one’s job should align with their passion.

Should your job create meaning?

Drawing from her experience as a member of parliament, shares her belief that a job should ideally be something that one feels passionate about and finds meaningful. She highlights the emotional and physical challenges faced in her role, emphasising the importance of having a certain level of passion to overcome these hurdles. MP Pei Ling finds motivation in the relationships she builds with the people she serves, which keeps her going despite the demanding nature of her job.

Sales leader Rakaesh weighed in, citing Steve Jobs’ view that “passion is needed to push through challenges inherent to any job.” For Rakaesh, cultivating passion means focusing on dynamic aspects of sales like “speaking to new people daily.”

Potential downsides of turning a passion into a full-time job:

Dawn takes a different stance, emphasising the need to maintain a separation between passion and work. She explains that turning a passion into a full-time job often introduces additional stress and responsibilities, which could hinder one’s enjoyment of the activity. Dawn consciously chooses to keep her passions separate from her job, allowing her to pursue writing and hosting projects that she truly loves without compromising her creative freedom.

She is also the Director of a background investigations firm. “I help validate credentials and prevent criminals from accessing children. Each case feels impactful.” While not “passionate” about the work, Dawn derives purpose from her impact.

Reggie chimed in that, “If your passion like writing became your sole job, you may compromise ethics for money during slow months.”

Intrinsic motivation within a job:

Reggie adopts a more balanced approach to the topic. He acknowledges the ideal scenario of finding a job aligned with one’s passion, citing MP Pei Ling’s experience as an example. However, he also recognises that every job comes with its share of challenges and less enjoyable aspects. Reggie emphasises the importance of finding intrinsic motivation within the job, such as specific tasks or aspects that resonate with one’s interests. This balance helps maintain motivation and a sense of purpose in the work.

Remote work is changing equations, as noted MP Pei Ling. “It allows flexibility to explore passions on your own terms outside traditional 9-5s.” But Dawn warned that remote opportunities could enable hiring offshore, where labour is cheaper.

Overall, most agreed that passion comes in degrees versus absolutes. As Reggie summarised, “Find meaning in your work and ignite passion through side projects on your own terms, without idealising the ‘perfect’ role.”

The Bottom Line:

Work will always have difficulties. Cultivating passion wherever possible, whether through meaningful impact, dynamic elements of your role, or separate creative pursuits on your own schedule, can power you through challenges to long-term success. Ultimately, the decision whether to align one’s job with their passion rests on individual preferences and circumstances.

You can check their full interview on Wise & Shine, Episode 63 on Spotify, YouTube, Google podcast or Apple podcast for the fascinating insights of the youngest elected Member of Parliament in Singapore, MP Tin Pei Ling, as she shares her journey and the challenges faced in her role. Join the thought-provoking discussion on whether your job should align with your passion.

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