10 Signs That You’ve Lost Passion for Your Career

Love long lunches? Hate Skyping? Korn Ferry CEO Gary Burnison’s does a gut check on career passion.

Gary Burnison is CEO of Korn Ferry and author of Lose the Resume, Land the Job. For more information, see KFAdvance.com.

Purpose. Passion. These two words have a big impact on your performance.

If you’ve lost passion for your career, then your performance is probably mediocre—at best. You’re among the 80% who accomplish only 20% -- when you need to be one of the outliers, the 20% who accomplish the 80%.

There is a way to get there. To start, it’s time for a gut check to see if you have any (or even all) of the 10 signs of a passionless career. 

  1. You’re on snooze control. No matter how much sleep you get, you’re a yawn machine. You may think your fatigue makes others believe that you’ve been up all night working. But you’re not fooling anyone. Every morning when the alarm goes off, you treat the snooze button like it’s a pet—in constant need of touching and tapping.
  2. You love your commute. It doesn’t matter that you spend two hours on the train each way—that’s your favorite time of the day. You get to look out the window at the leaves starting to fall. You can watch your favorite videos for the hundredth time—just can get enough of that cat riding the robotic vacuum cleaner. You finally have the time to read Moby-Dick. And if you drive to work, that nightmare traffic is a great excuse for coming in late and skipping out early.
  3. Your colleagues could be from Mars. You’ve been in the same office for two years now but have never bothered to learn anything about the person at the next desk. It’s just too far to walk over there.
  4. Lunch hour is anything but. Normally, you never lose track of time. But at lunch 60 minutes is never enough! Your lunch “hour” stretches to 90 minutes—and the food isn’t even that good.
  5. You hate Skype. No way do you want that camera keeping an “eye” on you as you nod off during the conference call’s PowerPoint presentation. You’d rather say that your password isn’t working and phone in instead.
  6. Email, however, is your friend.  You used to call to answer your colleagues’ questions, but now that seems like too much effort. Emailing lets you put things off. “Sorry for the delay in responding” becomes your mantra.
  7. What competition? You haven’t used a dime of your budget on industry publications, and the most exciting thing you can recall from the last industry meet-and-greet was watching a guy spill beer on himself.
  8. Your last performance review lasted seven minutes. Unless your boss is calling to complain about your last assignment, you never hear from anyone. At your last performance review, when you were asked about your goals, you fumbled to say something about “wanting to grow” and “helping others succeed.” Not exactly convincing.
  9. Promotions are for losers. It’s been five years since your last one, so you’ve talked yourself into believing that promotions just aren’t possible at your company. But the idea of looking for a new job seems like a lot of work.
  10. You pray—and I mean pray—for jury duty. Enough said.

Humor aside, you get the point.

If you’ve lost your passion for what you do, it’s time to get back in touch with what gets you up and excited for the day before the alarm goes off.

You must have a genuine passion for your employer’s overarching purpose. If not, you’ll be only a worker.

Whatever you do, don’t let a lack of passion lead you into the temptation of quitting. Job gaps and career interruptions are major red flags for employers. Stay where you are and see if you can reignite your passion. Don’t jump at the first thing to come along. If you do, you’ll be mired in those same 10 signs within six months.