How to Kill Passion

When you see a doctor or a surgeon, you would ideally want them to be passionate about what they do instead of complaining about their hours or their boss. And you definitely don’t want them to say, “I’m just doing this for a few years to save some money, then I’ll quit and go do something else.” So how did we get here? How does someone survive and graduate from medical school when they have little desire to work in medicine?

I think for a lot of students, their passion probably died once they started working. Imagine what it’s like being an engineering student in university, you get to study all sorts of cool engineering stuff in lecture and play around with a bunch of “toys” in your lab sessions. You also get to skip lectures with little to no consequences if you find them boring or if you overslept, you just need to catch up and submit your assignments on time. Even if you struggle, you can always get help from your friends or lecturers during open office hours. And most importantly, you can do the things you are passionate about whenever you feel like it, on your own schedule.

But everything changed after graduation. All of a sudden, you’re entrusted to handle million-dollar equipment where one wrong move might cause something to blow up, or worse. And no, you are most definitely not allowed to play with it. You can no longer sleep in or skip work, even if you can catch up the next day. At work, not many people will be able to help you as everyone’s working on their own thing and there are no correct answers, unlike university, and there’s also the potential office politics you may or may not be forced to participate in. And most importantly, you are now forced to the things you are passionate about on someone else’s schedule. A critical machine broke down at 3AM? Well, guess who’s going back to work.

How many people hate their university life? Almost none. But how many people hate their working life? Probably a lot. Even if you are someone who loves computer science and programming, the moment you are forced to do it all the time on a schedule you can’t control, that’s when you will begin hating it. And that is how you kill passion.

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