Tussenstand onderzoek: Evgenia Lysova

How to keep doing “what you love”? Insights from the Dutch video game industry

By Evgenia Lysova

Evgenia LysovaPopular media increasingly emphasize that people should find the job they love and are passionate about. However, nowadays there is a high degree of uncertainty about whether individuals who found their calling can actually sustain the pursuit of it. The reasons are the under-developed career structures and the nature of professions in certain industries.

To understand how individuals can sustain their calling pursuit in such contexts, we conducted a qualitative study with 24 founders of video game companies in the Netherlands. The study revealed that founders differed in how they tried to sustain the pursuit of their creative calling.

For the one group of the founders the enactment of their calling was fixed to the idealistic idea of being creative as an independent creative artist, who would never be a “sell-out”. This resembles a more short-term approach towards sustaining the pursuit of creative calling, making the founders more vulnerable to the pressures from the external environment. The other group of founders took a more realistic approach towards sustaining their creative calling pursuit. They realized that being creative as an independent artist is often a luxury, and thus, they crafted how they viewed themselves at work and the ways in which they enacted their creative calling.

The founders saw managing their companies as creative work, and working with clients as a co-creation process. This group of the founders took a more long-term focused approach towards sustaining the pursuit of their creative calling.

These findings suggest that career counselors and career development professionals need to help individuals with a calling to craft how they view themselves as they pursue their calling to fit the reality and to make them more adaptable to the changing circumstances in the work environment. This would enable individuals not to be fixed on a certain job or profession but to see various possibilities through which they could enact their calling.


For more information see: Lysova, E.I. & Khapova, S.N. (2018). Enacting creative calling when established career structures are not in place: The case of the Dutch video game industry. Forthcoming in Journal of Vocational Behavior.

Evgenia Lysova is assistant professor at the department of Organisation and Managment.