Here's The Difference Between Passion For Work And Obsession

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Photo: Flickr/Alan Cleaver

Work brings some people intrinsic joy. These people feel in control of their work, feel good about themselves while working, find their work to be in harmony with their other activities. Psychologists describe these folks as having harmonious passion. But there’s another kind of passion: obsessive passion. Those who are obsessively passionate feel an uncontrollable urge to engage in their work, feel more conflict between their passion and other areas in their life, and their work forms a large part of their often unstable and negative self-concept.In my last post, I summarized Robert J. Vallerand‘s distinction between obsessive passion and harmonious passion. In the comment thread that followed, I noticed a couple of questions emerge: Is obsessive passion ever helpful? What should you do if you recognise that your passion for work is not harmonious, but obsessive? I’ll address both of those in this post.

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