passion in work: it’s possible

Dear A,

People are surprised that I want to leave my current job. Both on paper and in reality it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It has taught me more than I could have imagined. I have learned things and achieved things and met people. The work can be meaningful; the work environment is better than most.

It makes me feel lousy, though, because while it is somewhere on the spectrum between a job-job and a labour of love, I have no passion for the work. I have no drive or motivation for it. It doesn’t get me up out of bed in the morning. It’s not my calling, my vocation, my raison d’etre. It doesn’t tug on my heartstrings or speak to my soul.

Under normal circumstances that could be an acceptable compromise. After all, the overwhelming majority of humanity are in the same boat.

These are not normal circumstances: I am in the very privileged position of having worked with and alongside you for two-and-a-half years, and I am in awe of you for countless reasons.

One reason is your dedication and commitment and drive and clear-sightedness of your goals. You believe you can change something for the better in this world, and you have an idea of what’s a good way to do so. I admire this and it inspires me. It makes me want to have that, too: I want clear goals, I want to believe I can change something, and I want to figure out how to do it.

My current job isn’t the right job for that. Urban development is not something that speaks to me, and I am tired of having to pretend it does. If this were just a job-job I wouldn’t have to pretend; it would be just a job, after all. Working in an NGO and working alongside you and people like you, though, shows me that it’s not good enough to just have a job-job, or to think of this work as mere employment or occupation. I feel a lot of pressure to feel strongly about regenerative cities. I feel like my work should drive me. As a salesperson of regenerative cities, I feel pressure to have to believe in the product I’m pushing, and I don’t think I particularly do. I have too many unanswered questions.

But perhaps there is someone who can replace me who believes in both the importance and viability of regenerative urban development more than I do. The WFC deserves an employee with a high level of dedication. And I deserve an employment that I feel dedicated to.

Among the many things you’ve taught me is that passion in work is possible. I don’t have that now and I want it, so I’m going off on an adventure to find it.

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