The Most Underestimated Factor (Not Only) In Work Life: Passion!

Cawa Younosi

Passion. It’s a powerful feeling that you cannot exactly describe, define, or even learn. You may call it enthusiasm, desire, or experience, but what all these expressions have in common is that they convey something you have inside yourself. It is your driver for everything you do – you just have to let it out. You can immediately recognize when people act with passion – you see it in their eyes, they go the extra mile on their own initiative. They persevere against throwbacks or critics, and in the end, they infect other people with their passion.

There are a lot of guidelines describing how to be successful in job interviews or how to boost your career. Usually they reference the “perfect” format, look, and feel of a CV. They suggest how to behave during interviews; which answers you should avoid; which questions you can expect; even which questions you should ask. They tell you how to dress, even the optimal body language.

On the job, the guidelines recommend how to show your success, how to interact with your team and your manager. Furthermore, they contain recommendations like “make your career plan and work on executing it” if you want to climb the corporate ladder. Surely not all of this advice can be incorrect.

To move up in your career, you must of course fulfill the required qualifications and give the right answers (which could be sometimes the “expected” answers), especially when it comes to general questions about your strengths and weaknesses. Without a doubt, it is always helpful to have a career and goal plan, showing where you want to be in the near future if you want to continue to develop.

But what I believe is missing from all of these guidelines is an emphasis on the most relevant characteristic that, in my opinion, decides a person’s success or failure: demonstrating passion– whether its passion for the job you are seeking or for what you are currently doing.

My observations are that recognizing passion in a candidate’s eyes and words during a job interview can bridge small and big gaps in their CV, as the interviewer can see the person’s ultimate commitment and willingness to close such gaps if necessary. The same is true on the job: Employees who are doing their job with passion and happiness, who have fun delivering their job with precision and elegance, are sustainably successful!

Why does passion matter?

Qualifications and references prove that you did certain things. However, they do not explain the full picture: why and how! When a candidate works for many years in a certain area, this is a strong indicator of success and may suggest (but not necessarily prove) that they are doing the job because of their personal interests, including their passion.

It is not unusual to pursue academic study without concrete knowledge that the area you are studying will be something you will build your career on. Similarly, once you start to work, you sometimes recognize that the job is not what you expected or something that you’re passionate about. In these cases, many people  would try to make the best of it, but usually these won’t be the ones who climb the career ladder or have the most success in a job interview. The reason for this is that nobody can be happy and successful in the long term by doing things just because they have to, rather than things they love to do.

Want an example? Bill Gates terminated his college studies to realize his idea. Even though he did not have the perfect CV, he became the richest man in the world, simply because he followed his passion.

I encourage you to both do what you love and love what you do. Not only will interviewers, managers, and other people take note, it will be your key for happiness and success!

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This article originally appeared in LinkedIn Pulse.


Cawa Younosi

About Cawa Younosi

Cawa Younosi is Head of Human Resources at SAP Deutschland SE. He is also responsible for diversity and inclusion, to which the internationally recognized SAP program ‘Autism at Work’ belongs, as does the field of family-friendly HR policies (family and career). Among his responsibilities, Cawa developed the company’s co-determination structure through local employee representatives. As one of the first initiatives of its kind in Germany, these roles were created to give a framework to the location-specific interests of employees in the form of local working groups organized like works councils. Prior to joining SAP, Cawa led social partner management at Atos Origin. He has also held positions at Deutsche Telekom and TNT Express, where he served as legal counsel specializing in labor law.