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Writer Says Skills, Not Passion, Are Key For Success At Work

(Credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

(Credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
John Ostapkovich brings humor and wit, and a wealth of experience...
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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The economy remains tough, and keeping or finding a job is a challenge, but one Georgetown professor says the quest for that perfect job does not start with passion.

While some people just know they’re going to be an orthodontist, for most of us, success is a little hazier.

Professor Cal Newport, in preparing his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, interviewed dozens of people who loved what they do, but overwhelmingly had not loved it from afar.

“Passion doesn’t require that you find the right job,” he said. “It requires that you work in the right way, so it’s the right advice for a struggling economy, but I think it’s been the right advice for years. It’s just in a good economy it’s easier to ignore.”

Newport says skills trump passion, with the caveat that you shouldn’t be in a field you don’t love.

“I want to cultivate a career in which I do feel some passion for what I do, but it’s better thought of as a goal,” he said. “This is where I want to get in my career, and not thought of as this mysterious pre-existing thing that’s hidden in us, entwined in our DNA, and if we just do enough Strength Finder tests, we’ll figure it out in advance.”

The necessary skills depend on the job. He advises that you look at the stars in your profession and analyze what they do really well that the non-stars don’t. He says emulate them and build your success.

That’s something to be passionate about.

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