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Build Your Career Office Life

Don't Love Your Job Yet? You May Just Need More Time

Don't Love Your Job Yet? You May Just Need More Time
Credit: Gonzalo Aragon/Shutterstock

If you're not passionate about your job yet, don't worry: New research finds that it might take time for you to develop a passion for your career.

Having a passion for what you do for a living doesn't always require "love at first sight," according to a study recently published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

"The good news is that we can choose to change our beliefs or strategies to cultivate passion gradually or seek compatibility from the outset, and be just as effective in the long run at achieving this coveted experience," Patricia Chen, the study's lead author and a University of Michigan doctoral student, said in a statement.

While the prevailing thought among many employees is that passion for a job only comes from finding the right fit from the start (called "fit theory" in the study), the study's authors discovered that passion can also be developed over time as workers gain more on-the-job experience (called "develop theory").

As part of the study, researchers examined people's expectations, choices and outcomes associated with "fit theory" and "develop theory" mind-sets. They found that both mentalities are effective in helping people achieve career happiness. [Is It Folly to Follow Your Passion? ]

People with the fit-theory mind-set typically select jobs they enjoy from the outset. The study's authors said this is an indication that compatibility is important to these workers.

In contrast, people with the develop-theory mind-set don't focus as much on finding the perfect fit. Instead, they work to cultivate passion and fit over time, the study's researchers said.

"Thus, they are more likely to prioritize vocational characteristics other than immediate enjoyment, such as pay," Chen said.

The study's authors said the findings are a sign that those who haven't discovered their passion can still develop it.

The study was co-authored by University of Michigan professor Phoebe Ellsworth and University of Southern California professor Norbert Schwarz.

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.