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More Than One Way to Find the Right Job Fit

More Than One Way to Find the Right Job Fit

New research suggests people should not be discouraged if they have not found their perfect fit in a career — there may be more than one way to attain passion for work.

Contrary to popular wisdom, a love-at first-sight experience is not necessary when evaluating a potential job, according to a new University of Michigan study.

“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,” said Patricia Chen, a doctoral psychology student and study’s lead author.

The dominant mentality in America is the belief that passion is attained through finding a fit with the right line of work, or “following one’s passion.” Conversely, an alternative viewpoint is that passion can be cultivated over time as one gains competence in a line of work.

Researchers examined people’s expectations, choices, and outcomes associated with each of these two mindsets, termed as the “fit theory” and “develop theory.”

They found that both mentalities are similarly effective at achieving vocational well-being. What differs is how they motivate people to get to this outcome, Chen said.

People with the fit theory tend to select vocations that they enjoy from the outset, an indication of compatibility that is important to them.

In contrast, people with the develop theory prioritize an immediate vocational fit less, but focus on cultivating passion and fit over time.

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

The findings, which appear in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, offer assurance to those who have yet to find what they are passionate about: If you can’t discover your passion, you can learn to develop it.

Source: University of Michigan

More Than One Way to Find the Right Job Fit

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). More Than One Way to Find the Right Job Fit. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 24 Aug 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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