What if I Don’t Have a Passion?

National Public Radio story: I know I’m supposed to follow my passion. But what if I don’t know my passion? LISTEN to the answer to the questions below…

As a fairly recent graduate of an Ivy League institution (with a bachelor’s degree), most of my classmates seemed to have some idea that career and life path choice should be driven by a “passion” such that the right choice is self-evident to the chooser. What does this belief mean to you as a social scientist? …

You may sense where this is going …

Assume I have no such passion. Furthermore, I am a fairly well-qualified young generalist.* What paths should most appeal to me if my goal is to maximize doing “interesting” work? Doing meaningful work? Achieving social status? (Which of these goals should be primary?) Need I try to develop a passion before selecting a life path/career, and if so, how do I do it?

All the best, Max

*Two years out with a BA from an Ivy League school. Top 10 percent of the class but not an academic rock star. A record of primarily reading/writing-intensive courses, as well as basic to intermediate economics, calculus, statistics, a proofs course. Time spent abroad in study and travel, though no foreign language fluency. Two years in the private sector with a decent amount of analytic and management experience, but without a big name behind it.

– Max Kornblith sent the question above to Tyler Cowen, an economist.

Posted by Sunny Klein Lurie, Fast Focus Careers