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In Full Flow: my PhD and more stories about passion at work

Elmine is doing something I should blog a long ago – working on the project about passionate professionals:

I know a lot of people that work with so much enthusiasm and passion that they keep on doing it, no matter what. Their work and life seem to blend together and demarcation between private and work life seems not that relevant to them.

This project is about them, passionate professionals, and finding out why they’re such passionate workers. Using video-interviews I want to portray these interesting people that belong to my tribe.

It was fun and scary to be the first one Elmine interviewed for the project, almost a year ago, but was very rewarding too – having an opportunity to reflect on my work and passions with a good listener in front of me.

Elmine posted part the video with my interview, where I tell why I ended up doing a PhD and share things I’ve learnt in the process. I watched is a couple of days ago, making notes – to find out later those were exactly about the things I talked in the quotes Elmine pulled out for the post:

“Doing a PhD was a way to give myself time and space to explore and to work on something for a long term and have time and hours and also choices that would be mine.”

Not sure this is the best reason to go for a PhD 🙂 It was definitely the source of many troubles, but also provided more opportunities for risk-taking – while struggling with becoming confident as a researcher I also knew I could afford being on the fringes as I didn’t plan a traditional academic career. I’m not so sure about not wanting to be an academic now, btw :)))

“In an organization, how do you manage things that you cannot control? How do you create conditions for people to be passionate about work, because this is what brings business benefit, but this is something we cannot tell them or put in a job description?”

The funny thing that I’m still there: asking questions very similar to those that brought me into doing PhD research. Hopefully, I’m a bit further with the answers 🙂

“If you would ask me if I would do it again [a PhD], I don’t know, but I am who I am today also because I went through the process.”

“Being an academic there are certain rules of the game and part of doing PhD is learning about those rules and either comply or breaking or stretching them. […] If you work in an organization or business or whatever environment there are rules of the game and unless you’re very happy with the game and very happy about the rules you still have to find your own path given the circumstances.”

Happy to have the lessons. Now transferring to other contexts.


Just to make sure you’ve seen it: Elmine also has a series of shorter videos where people from “our tribe” talk about education of their children. Knowing quite a lot about their professional lives I find it interesting to peak into their more private and may be more important choices. Especially given that at the moment making those choices is a burning issue for me 🙂

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