The Road to Professional Passion (Gwen Moritz Editor's Note)

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Jun. 16, 2014 12:00 am  

But not everyone bought into the idea. Another high school friend said he fundamentally disagreed with the article, recommending instead Dave Pollard’s book, “Finding the Sweet Spot.”

The sweet spot, according to Pollard, is where one’s passions, one’s skills and the market potential intersect. Well, sure. That would be sweet. And there are clearly people who are able to find it, and more power to them. My son is in Chicago, pursuing his dream of working in the theater as a stage manager — and maybe someday he won’t need a day job he’s not passionate about in order to pay his rent. But our economy would screech to a halt if everyone stopped the work that was needed and valuable in order to “follow his bliss.”

My friend disagreed even more strenuously:

“I guess I really am the only one who sees this all as a justification to punch the damn time clock and be happy you have a job,” he said.

But I don’t think that’s what Haden was saying at all. I don’t think those of us with marketable skills should be stuck doing work we actively dislike or stay at jobs that aren’t satisfying or where we don’t feel valued and valuable. But the popular idea that the only path to professional satisfaction is doing something you already love is not realistic for everyone — maybe not even for most people — nor do we have to be destitute because the market doesn’t value our passions. We can match our skills to the market and, with time and effort, develop the mastery that leads to satisfaction.

And maybe, if we’re really lucky, we’ll find a professional passion we didn’t expect.

Gwen Moritz is editor of Arkansas Business. Email her at



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