Quick Thought – The Dangers of a “Passion” Job in Politics

I don’t particularly know why, but I came across an article out of Australia last week that caught my eye and got me thinking about working at our “passion” jobs. The reason I headed in that direction mentally was the description of what life is like for these various politicians after they lose an election. It’s devastating, as you would expect, to deal with that level of rejection, but also because the job has literally become their whole life and identity. They were so passionate about the job that there was nothing else.

Our research shows MPs who leave parliament unexpectedly can experience devastating emotional, psychological and financial challenges. We found a major contributor to these challenges was a lack of planning for life after parliament. Although a parliamentary career is inherently transitory, as one of our respondents explained, “no one thinks of themselves as an ex-MP”.

I wonder how many people entering the workforce now in what they have considered their “dream” job have stopped to consider what happens if the job doesn’t work out? Have any considered how their passion for the work could be easily manipulated? Or what they’ll do instead if the thing they are so passionate about either turns out to be a terrible job or just isn’t needed any longer?

What does a career look like when you don’t have the thing you felt so passionate about, and how does that affect your mental health to feel strongly about the work you do and then have it go away suddenly?

Perhaps instead of telling everyone to “follow their passion”, we’d do well to remember that passion only goes so far and you’re likely going to be spending enough time working to go through several things you feel passionate about. No one of them should be everything, because when you lose it, you lose everything. That a might hard hole to dig out of.

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