Do you love your job in content marketing?


Are you passionate about your work or do you love your work?

While this may seem like a strange question, after looking at some of the findings in CMI’s 2024 Content Marketing Career and Salary Outlook, I’m wondering about it.

More than half (54%) of content marketers say they are often engaged at work. Only 8% say they are not engaged. These numbers differ significantly from those of employees in other fields. A recent Gallup poll (registration required) found that 52% of American workers say they are disengaged in their jobs.

But does engagement translate into a feeling of satisfaction in your work? Nearly a third (31%) of marketers surveyed in the CMI study said they were actively or very interested in seeking a new role.

54% of content marketers say they are often engaged at work. Nearly a third say they are looking for a new role, according to @CMIContent #Research via @Robert_Rose. Click to tweet

This tension reminds me of the difference between being passionate about your work and loving what you do.

Mistaking passion for love leads to burnout

Every day you are bombarded with messages aimed at equating your work with your passion or, if that is not possible, directing your passion into a side hustle that can ultimately become your career.

This thinking can keep you from doing what you love to do.

I have a friend. Let’s call her Beth. She worked here in my hometown of Los Angeles as the Director of Digital Content for one of the largest movie studios in the world. She was not only passionate about creating content, but also about working on some of the most iconic entertainment brands. Beth worked 70 to 80 hours a week with people whose usual way of communicating was by shouting. She was expected to work all the time, including holidays. She rarely took a few hours for herself.

Five years, one divorce, and serious health issues later, Beth was extremely exhausted. She discovered that she didn’t care about work as much as she thought she cared about it.

Secondary passions are not always love

An even more insidious thought is convincing yourself that you need to quit a job and replace it with your passion.

Maybe you hate a job you’re passionate about. I know it sounds weird, but I promise it exists. Some people really don’t like their job, but they stay because they’re really good at it. The company keeps giving them more money and responsibility to keep doing it.

I know a product marketing manager. Let’s call him Mike. He works for one of the largest software companies in the world. He has been with the company for 12 years and he hates his job. But Mike has proven himself competent in everything that defines his job. He is at the top of his game. The company clearly values ​​it.

So Mike felt compelled to devote his efforts to a secondary passion to balance his life. His passion is gastronomy and wine. He created a gastronomic magazine and a blog. For five years, he desperately tried to turn his passion for food and wine into a profitable business so he could quit the job he hated.

Mike and Beth both had passion, but neither had love.

Passion and love of work are different

Passion is a strong and barely controllable emotion. In fact, the dictionary defines passion, among other things, as “the state or capacity to act on external agents or forces.” When you are passionate, you are not in control. The word comes from the Latin word “passio” – to suffer or endure.

Passion is a burning desire for something where intrusive thoughts idealize the nature of the relationship. This usually happens early in the relationship and is intense. But here’s the thing: passion can’t persist. It always ends.

That’s not to say that passion for your work can’t be healthy, rewarding, or even fun. But if your relationship with your work never evolves into what psychologists call “compassionate love“, you will always confuse the form of what you want to do with the function of what you like to do.

Beth’s passion for creating content for an iconic entertainment brand was unrequited and therefore never blossomed into love. She discovered that what she truly loved was not only creating content for an iconic brand, but also impacting people with the content she created. Complete stop.

She confused her love of the profession with passion for the subject (or the brand). She discovered compassionate love in a new job that valued her, reduced the screaming in her daily life, and even paid her more money. She became director of brand journalism at a financial services company.

Mike, on the other hand, discovered that he was not in love – and had no passion – for starting a publishing business. He found love by revamping his product marketing work and recognizing that it was okay that software wasn’t his passion. He discovered that he could love the company that loved him because it gave him the freedom to discover for himself his true love of good food and wine. He didn’t have to make what he truly loved a profitable business. He could just love it for what it was.

True love inspires new professional passions

One of the most heartwarming findings from CMI’s career research was the importance of loving what you do. The most common response to “what content marketers want” from their job was “to do meaningful work.” Relations with my colleagues and recognition for my work followed closely. Professional development opportunities were sixth on the list.

What do you want? You want meaningful, long-term work where you can interact with people you love and be recognized for your contributions. You want love.

Where to find that love is the biggest question.

A quote, generally attributed to Lord Byron, says: “Love without passion is dull. Passion without love is horrible. I completely agree. When you haven’t found love in your work, your passion seems mundane. An intense day at work? Well, it just becomes Tuesday. This fire burns you.

But when you truly love what you do, know yourself, and can balance those moments of passion, no matter how brief, you can obsess and lose yourself in the intensity of the activity. This fire fuels you.

Choose your fire carefully.

It’s your story. Say it well.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute


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