Passion vs. Compensation


I’ve once read a story told by Seth Godin in his latest book《Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
》:

It’s four a.m. and I can’t sleep. So I’m sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Jamaica, checking my e-mail.

A couple walks by, obviously on their way to bed, having pushed the idea of vacation a little too hard. The woman looks over to me and, in a harsh whisper a little quieter than a yell, says to her friend, “isn’t that sad? That guy comes here on vacation and he’s stuck checking his e-mail. He can’t even enjoy his two weeks off.”

I think the real question, the one they probably wouldn’t want to answer, was, “isn’t it sad that we have a job where we spend two weeks avoiding the stuff we have to do fifty weeks a year?”

This is what I call “Passion”.

How do you know you are working at things that you love? You would feel “the flow” instead of exhaustion as you work on it more. You would have minimal “anticipatory stress” while you are expecting it. You would feel like doing the work even if it is a voluntary job.

It is interesting (and sad) that most of the employment contracts would name the salary + fringe benefits as “compensation packages”. It sounds as if what you are doing for the company is some “hardship”, and thus they have to give you something to compensate for it. If you put it that way, your real “return” of your effort and time put in the work are much lesser than the package that you are actually receiving, because you have to discount the “compensation of hardship” bit.

On the other hand, if you are working on your passion, your real return would be the package that you are actually receiving plus the satisfaction and enjoyment. It sure is a better deal, right?