The Three Loves Job Theory

Helen Fisher, PhD. is a Biological Anthropologist and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Internet dating site  Helen’s life work is centered around the Three Loves Theory, which helps us better understand our relationships.

The Three Loves Theory basically says not all love we feel is experienced equally.  Fisher have studied the cognitive and neurobiological processes underlying attraction and love, and they’ve begun to pinpoint different emotions that occur at different stages of romantic relationships. She believes we have three kinds of love: Lust, Passion and Commitment.

So, what does this have to do with Human Resources?  I theorize that Fisher’s Three Loves Theory can be extended to our employees.

Think about it for a second and chart your employees, who ‘love’ their job, in the following categories:

  1. Lust – It’s that new love of the job and organization. They act a little crazy about it. Can’t stop talking about it. People at this job love level will tattoo the company logo on their body!
  2. Passion – You’re working in something you really care about. You feel it’s what you were born to do, at this time. You love discussing your job with people on a deep level, wanting to learn more about it.
  3. Commitment – It’s gone beyond the job and you feel deeply connected to the organization. In fact, you would change jobs within the organization if it’s what the organization needed from you. Your job love as evolved beyond the job.

While all of these employees love their job, we tend to think of them differently.  We tend to rank this job love and judge these employees who on who ‘really’ loves their job.

We tend to value one love over another. Some organizations value that job lust, they want to hire people who are lusting over their work. Some organizations what their employees to be committed to the organization over the work. Every organizations is different, one is no better than the other.

Think about your own career path. What level of job love are you in right now?  Maybe you’re not in job love at all.

To me that is always the measure. Are you in love with your job?  People tend to think of job love, on only one level, and that level is usually Lust or Passion, rarely Commitment.  It’s also how we usually judge our employees. Those with job love Commitment, get their love discounted, because they are no longer lusting or passionate about their job.

It’s all love. We should be celebrating job love, not judging it.

What phase are you in job love?


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