Avoid Working Yourself Out Of A Job

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IAAP members are a passionate group. They're serious about being the best at their jobs. A cursory glance at the IAAP Web Community reveals people who are focused and determined. This is a good thing, but can it tip over into something that has a negative impact on your personal and professional success? That's the question posed by a couple of recent blog posts on the Harvard Business Review.

In "Why Your Passion Could Ruin Your Career," New York University cognitive scientist Scott Barry Kaufman unpacks recent psychological research suggesting that there are two basic types of passionate employees: harmonious and obsessive. Harmonious passion allows someone to work hard but maintain perspective, flexibility and balance with the rest of their life. Obsessiveness leads to an unhealthy compulsion to work, rigidity and a sense that your self-worth is tied to your success at the office. Most importantly, obsessed employees are more likely to become burned out, and that could cut your career short.

There's hope for passionate people who have reached the tipping point. Time management coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders offers an antidote in "The Thought-Patterns of Success." She suggests it's simply a matter of examining how you think about work, then replacing the unhelpful thoughts with healthy options. Saunders provides a useful matrix of harmful versus helpful thoughts to help you find balance. It's self help in the manner of an athlete who replaces a performance hitch with good techniques through daily practice. A few minutes of journaling and self-reflection could slow down your professional steam train enough so you don't derail your own career.