Finding a Fit or Developing It: Implicit Theories About Achieving Passion for Work

Passion for work has become a widespread phrase in popular discourse. Two contradictory lay perspectives have emerged on how passion for work is attained, which we distill into the fit and develop implicit theories. Fit theorists believe that passion for work is achieved through finding the right fit with a line of work; develop theorists believe that passion is cultivated over time. Four studies examined the expectations, priorities, and outcomes that characterize these implicit theories. Our results show that these beliefs elicit different motivational patterns, but both can facilitate vocational well-being and success. This research extends implicit theory scholarship to the work domain and provides a framework that can fruitfully inform career advising, life coaching, mentorship, and employment policies.