Women tell Women

Is it okay not to feel passionate about your job?

— Amanda Ba

It’s perfectly normal to go through periods of feeling dreadful or unexcited about your professional projects. There are many differences between a hobby and work. You can love both, but I see hobbies as a fun outlet for your passions, an activity that one can improve at but does not intend to capitalize on. For example, I have recently become passionate about houseplants, and I am developing a green thumb, but I feel relaxed towards the activity because it is not something that comes with the pressure of earning an income.

Work, on the other hand, is high stakes, which can lead to intense feelings of dread towards progress: “How do I keep being better, and showing people that I’m growing?”

It’s a different type of passion, one that is longer-reaching and perhaps more existential. I know that I would not be as fulfilled doing anything other than painting, being an artist, which proves that I am still passionate about it, but sometimes in the short-term, I feel extremely unmotivated when I am experiencing a rut.

Painting was once a hobby for me before proper adulthood, and now it is my career, which complicates the question of passion. In those moments, it helps to rebalance some aspects of your lifework, play, friends, learning, exercising, personal time – to give room to find ways to rediscover a connection to your work.  It can be as simple as partying, integrating some exercise, fixing your sleep schedule, going to museums to stimulate your imagination, spending more time reading, watching films that inspire you. It’s mostly about shifting the pie chart of how much time you dedicate to yourself, to others, to your work, to your play, and to your health until you find an equilibrium that works for you.

Amanda Ba –

Amanda is a painter based in New York City. She was born in Columbus, Ohio, but spent the first five years of her life with her grandparents in Hefei, China. Diasporic memory is central to her work—vivid paintings that combine personal memory with psychosexual fantasy, featuring figures that challenge a predominantly white Western canon of figural painting. Working closely with queer and post-colonial theory, her interventions in the Cannon do not aim to solely celebrate her cultural identity and its inclusion, but to interrogate its formation. Her work has been exhibited solo as well as part of group shows in London, Hefei, NYC, Los Angeles and Toronto.