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这是一篇刊登在最新一期“哈佛商业评论” Harward Business Review 上介绍年轻一代人充满激情可又要面对现实与幻想冲突所产生困惑的问题。特别是对在找工作方面陷入迷茫和徘徊中的90后出生一代人尤为有借鉴价值。作者阐述精辟,语言颇富哲理,论点突出,耐人寻味,值得思考。现特别将全文试着译成中文,供参考!希望有助大家对照阅读。由于时间仓促,漏译,错译问题在所难免,还望诸位谅解。




Solving Gen Y’s Passion Problem


by Cal Newport  |   9:00 AM September 18, 2012


Generation Y, of which I’m a member, is entering the job market in record numbers, and according to many commentators things are not going well.



One of the best-known books about my cohort, for instance, is titled Generation Me. The New York Post called us “The Worst Generation,” while USA Today noted that we are “pampered” and “high maintenance.” Earlier this year, a New York Times op-ed called us “Generation Why Bother,” noting that we’re “perhaps…too happy at home checking Facebook,” when we could be out aggressively seeking new jobs and helping the economy recover. The fact that up to a third of 25-34 year-olds now live with their parents only supports these gripes.

有关讲述我这个群体的书市面上出了很多,其中有一本书名为“我这一代人” 纽约邮报把我们这个群体称为“最糟糕的一代”而今日美国报纸却把我们说成”娇惯”“宠过了”的一代。在今年初,纽约时报专栏评述把我们称为“无忧无虑的一代”其中指出 “别看我们整天在家泡在Facebook上过得逍遥快活”是时候我们会出去疯狂地找工作,那样会有助于经济复苏。而事实上由于我们这个群体年龄大都在25-34之间且都同父母住在一起,才招致了人们对我们的这些抱怨。


To many, the core problem of this generation is clear: we’re entitled. I don’t deny these behaviors, but having recently finished researching and writing a book on career advice, I have a different explanation. The problem is not that we’re intrinsically selfish or entitled. It’s that we’ve been misinformed.



Generation Y was raised during the period when “follow your passion” became pervasive career advice. The chart below, generated using Google’s N-Gram Viewer, shows the occurrences of this phrase in printed English over time.

Passion pic newport-thumb-580x214-2312.jpg

Notice that the phrase begins its rise in the 1990s and skyrockets in the 2000s: the period when Generation Y was in its formative schooling years.



Why is this a problem? This simple phrase, “follow your passion,” turns out to be surprisingly pernicious. It’s hard to argue, of course, against the general idea that you should aim for a fulfilling working life. But this phrase requires something more. The verb “follow” implies that you start by identifying a passion and then match this preexisting calling to a job. Because the passion precedes the job, it stands to reason that you should love your work from the very first day.



It’s this final implication that causes damage. When I studied people who love what they do for a living, I found that in most cases their passion developed slowly, often over unexpected and complicated paths. It’s rare, for example, to find someone who loves their career before they’ve become very good at it — expertise generates many different engaging traits, such as respect, impact, autonomy — and the process of becoming good can be frustrating and take years.



The early stages of a fantastic career might not feel fantastic at all, a reality that clashes with the fantasy world implied by the advice to “follow your passion” — an alternate universe where there’s a perfect job waiting for you, one that you’ll love right away once you discover it. It shouldn’t be surprising that members of Generation Y demand a lot from their working life right away and are frequently disappointed about what they experience instead.



The good news is that this explanation yields a clear solution: we need a more nuanced conversation surrounding the quest for a compelling career. We currently lack, for example, a good phrase for describing those tough first years on a job where you grind away at building up skills while being shoveled less-than-inspiring entry-level work. This tough skill-building phase can provide the foundation for a wonderful career, but in this common scenario the “follow your passion” dogma would tell you that this work is not immediately enjoyable and therefore is not your passion. We need a deeper way to discuss the value of this early period in a long working life.



We also lack a sophisticated way to discuss the role of serendipity in building a passionate pursuit. Steve Jobs, for example, in his oft-cited Stanford Commencement address, told the crowd to not “settle” for anything less than work they loved. Jobs clearly loved building Apple, but as his biographers reveal, he stumbled into this career path at a time when he was more concerned with issues of philosophy and Eastern mysticism. This is a more complicated story than him simply following a clear preexisting passion, but it’s a story we need to tell more.



These are just two examples among many of the type of nuance we could inject into our cultural conversation surrounding satisfying work — a conversation that my generation, and those that follow us, need to hear. We’re ambitious and ready to work hard, but we need the right direction for investing this energy. “Follow your passion” is an inspiring slogan, but its reign as the cornerstone of modern American career advice needs to end.



We don’t need slogans, we need information — concrete, evidence-based observations about how people really end up loving what they do.