Earlier this week while I was trundling through the headlines at CNN.com and trying not to get too down by all the doom and gloom, I stumbled across a great article from Peter Bregman who is the CEO of Bregman Partners, Inc. (company web site, Linkedin profile). The article, or more appropriately commentary, was titled "Make the recession work for you" In his commentary Peter Bregman suggests that now may be the perfect time for people to start pursuing their passion, and therefore become more engaged in their career. Why is now, the worst economic downturn in 70 years, the time to start pursuing one's passion? Why not do so when times are good?
According to Peter when times are good people are less likely to get out of their comfort zone because of the perceived risk to their income, and he's right. Let face it, almost everyone is in pursuit of making more of the almighty dollar, yen, or pound, so why should they risk making less to pursue their passion? Peter suggests that in this current economic climate that those who are now unemployed are already out of their comfort zone, so they can actually seize the opportunity to pursue their passion without the perceived risk to their income, and may actually benefit doing so.
How can people benefit by pursuing their passion? Well for starters if you are passionate about what you are doing then you will be more engaged with your work, and to a prospective employer this is a very good trait to have. You can use all the key words you want in an interview, but if the passion isn't there then those words are meaningless. On the other hand if you are truly passionate about what you are doing then that will come across in an interview.
Peter points out in his commentary that "Gallup has collected data on 5.4 million employees in over 137 countries and concluded that engaged employees are more productive and customer-focused. And more profitable." Humans At Work which is a site that I have previously referenced also states that disengaged employees can cost billions in lost productivity, and backs this up with references to another Gallup article; "Many Employees Would Fire Their Boss". As the title implies, many employees would love to fire their bosses, but that is not the only point of the article. Disengaged employees not only impact productivity, but are less likely to refer both their employer, and employer's products to others. In essence disengaged employees cost companies money.
So why should you care if your employer doesn't make as much money. Well if your unemployed or soon to be unemployed the answer is obvious. Employers should also take note of the information in these articles, and realize that actively engaged employees definitely influence their bottom line in a very positive manner. Obviously not everyone's passion will be a marketable skill, but the impact of people becoming involved in something that they are passionate about may still influence how engaged they are at work, and in turn help their chances of landing a new job.
The links listed in this entry to a much better job of explaining the rationale of people pursuing their passion than I do, so give them a read. When you do, you just may realize as I did that pursuing your passion and being more engaged will definitely have a positive impact on your career, and that now just may be the perfect time to start pursuing your passions. While I am still unemployed, I do feel that now is the time for me to pursue my passion(s) and I am feeling much more optimistic about my prospects than I have for some time.
Keep any eye out for the next "Friday Fun" post! Cheers ~ Jim