I am often distracted in my current role. My passion for it has slowly drained over the past few years and I have yet to find success in terms of happiness or freedom in terms of money. I feel that if I continue down this path I will continue to produce mediocre work and never get anywhere.

Am I being impatient?

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    Sure, very few people are actually passionate about their work. But success is defined differntly for each person. If you want to get the absolute top of your profession (the top 1%) yes you need passion, If success means making enough money to live comfortably then passion is not a requiremment. – HLGEM Apr 9 '14 at 14:19
  • Define "passionate" - personally, I don't quite have the same fire about my work as I did ten years ago when I'd go home and keep coding - but I'm still pretty keen to get to work every day - is that still passionate? – HorusKol Apr 9 '14 at 23:49
  • @anony - "Am I being impatient?" Yes. Should you get out? Yes, as soon as possible. You haven't indicated that you know what you want, only that you know what you don't want. So - what do you want? – Meredith Poor Apr 10 '14 at 3:09
  • Remember the old line about "90% persperation, 10% inspiration". Passion makes that last 10% easier to find, and makes the gruntwork less objectionable. But that's all it does. If doing the job well and getting paid is your definition of success, passion helps but is neither sufficient nor essential. If enjoying the job is part of your definition of success, passion -- or at least caring about your work for its own sake -- does matter. You need to find either passion or discipline; if both are missing, you will fail. – keshlam Apr 10 '14 at 4:36
  • Hey anony, and welcome to The Workplace! I've put this on hold because it is polling for opinions which isn't a good fit for our site as explained in the help center. If you can focus on a specific answerable problem with an edit, it will automatically be reviewed to be reopened. Thanks in advance! – jmac Apr 10 '14 at 7:13

Define success. What does it mean to you? Making enough money to feed yourself (and family)? If so then certainly, you can make a lot of money doing what you don't like. Being "fulfilled" at your job? Then probably not.

If you were once passionate but are no longer, ask yourself what has changed? You or the job? Would you be able to rekindle your passion if you moved on to a new situation? Is there something that prevents a move...a pension, unemployment concerns, lack of opportunities?

It is true that very few people are fortunate enough to really love doing a job that pays well. Normally market forces prevent that. The more you want to do a job, the less they have to pay to to get you to do it. The harder it is, the less people can do it, and the higher the salary bar goes. The interaction of those two forces is what drives most of our ordinary workforce job compensation. Simple economics.

For most, I think, it comes down to a simple question. Do I do what I love, or do I do what pays the bills. And how much of each are you willing to live without? You didn't mention whether you are currently supporting a family; that would be a big consideration, I would hope.

If leaving your job isn't an option, what about finding ways to change it? The first job I had straight out of college was a clerical position, editing Word files for the CEO's secretary. I started noticing patterns in what I was being asked to do, lots of statistical analysis and such, so I wrote a computer program to create the reports and offered it to the CEO as a way of getting his reports while keeping the figures confidential. He created a position within the company for me so that I could write computer applications for the departments.

Are you bored because what you are doing isn't challenging enough? Ask for more responsibilities. If your boss is halfway competent (and so are you) that should be a no-brainer. Is it the work itself that bores you? It's hard to give more specific advice without knowing the details of your profession.

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I don't think you're being impatient - it does sound like you need to change something.

Change jobs

Your phrasing ("My passion for it has slowly drained") seems to indicate that you were originally passionate about it. What changed? Is it maybe just the role you're currently in rather than the career path? Thus changing jobs (or even just talking to your current employer to change your current responsibilities) might give you back your passion.

Take some time

It might simply be that you're overworked and need some time off. Consider taking a nice long holiday, and make sure to have absolutely no contact with work during this holiday, if at all possible.


Some careers just don't pay enough for most. If money is a problem, you'll need to figure something out - change careers (and possibly focus on what got you into this career in the first place as a hobby), get a second job, do some contract work, or something else.

The other possibility is that you're just producing mediocre work (by your own admission) (and/or your company isn't willing / able to pay market-related salaries) and resultantly aren't getting paid as much. Check what other employees in your area are getting (using Glassdoor, for example) to see if you are in a similar range, and then consider asking for a raise, look for a higher paying job, or perhaps even moving to a different area where you are in greater demand, if this is an option. Even if you change jobs and end up getting a similar salary, you may be satisfied in your job, producing great work and end up advancing quickly and getting the desired salary.

But money certainly isn't everything. Saying you don't "freedom" in terms of money doesn't sound a whole lot like "I can't afford to support my family" (although the latter might be true). Living on a tight budget in an okay job can be a lot better than working yourself to death in a job you hate to live comfortably (although not planning for a rainy day could be a problem if it ever rains). Consider planning and recording all your expenses and check that you're not spending money on luxuries in favour of necessities, not wasting money on unnecessary things, and actually putting some money away for a rainy day. Try to hold off on / limit luxuries while you have any sort of debt (including a house or car that's not paid off). Consider getting a (temporary) financial advisor, but be very careful of having that just be another expense as opposed to something that's actually saving you money - it can even just be a good friend that's good with their money helping you out free of charge. I'm not sure about the scope of the Personal Finance site, but you may be able to ask some specific questions there to help you along your path.


Job satisfaction doesn't equal happiness.

You should consider that things outside of work might be the problem.

Do you exercise regularly and spend sufficient time with friends and family?

Have you considered that you might be depressed and require professional help / medication?

Can you find time to do something you love outside of work (perhaps even consider reducing your hours to achieve this)?

Change careers

Switching careers isn't exactly an impossible (or particularly difficult) task.

If you can't get job satisfaction and/or the salary you need from your current career, changing careers should be a serious option. Don't think you should stay in your current career just because you've been doing it the longest and don't concern yourself too much with the possibility that you might have to start off at the bottom in some other career (but make sure you can afford it) - if it's something you're passionate about and good at, you should be able to advance quickly.

Look for things you're passionate about, you're really good at or a high-paying career (if money's particularly important to you).


Just for completeness - yes, you can be rich and/or happy with a career that you're not passionate about. You can be good at something and not be passionate about it. You can be happy despite spending a few hours a day doing something you're not passionate about. If we're talking about something you hate, that might be a bit of a different story.

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