The have experienced such turmoil in his

The passionate worker


The painter’s profession is and has always
been, since Van Gogh’s times, one of the most insecure jobs, far more complex
than one thinks. Many people, and myself as first example, give up art as
profession as it has the prejudice of leading to failure and neglect. From
ministry to painter, Van Gogh embodies the whole process. Causing friction in his family’s
network relationship, he generated his parents’ profound despise and
disdain. It is therefore noticeable that manual practices are utterly
marginalised by our society (Crawford, 2006) and frequently trigger “unanswered
callings”. Briscoe & Hall (2006) explain how, after growing awareness, such
happenings provoke a decline in “traditional career paths” and stimulate job

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Extreme job demands


The Job Demand-Resource
Model (Bakker & Demerouti, 2006) is a complementary explanation exposing
the motive why Van Gogh may have experienced such turmoil in his life. His
personal situation combined with his profession profile results in an excessive
amount of demands outweighing the number of resources. In order to ensure
oneself a living and a name, painters face “demands” such as stress, high work
pressure and important work load. On the other hand, job resources are
imperceptible: inexistent social support and excessive autonomy. Bakker et al
(2005) suggest that caring collaborators and proper feedback would have contributed
positively to Van Gogh’s well-being. However, his excessive amount of demands
and absent resources have undesirably impacted his well-being (Appendix A).




“Negative” Behaviour


In workplaces, individuals’
toxic behaviours strongly affect employees’ performance (Bazerman &
Tenbrunsel, 2011). At first glance, no clear relation stands out between
painters and negative behaviour. Being a solitary profession, faced with only a
brush and a canvas, painters rarely interact in groups and operate
distinctively from organisations.


Yet, Van Gogh may have
experienced moments in his life characterised by unintentional negative
behaviour, fuelled by frustrated goals, depression and mental illness. His
vagabond mediocre existence coupled with his solitude led him to attack his one
and only friend, master and collaborator, Paul Gauguin. Christian and Ellis
(2011) rightfully argue how a lack of self-regulation inevitably leads to both
behavioural (ie. self-control) and emotional (ie. state hostility) deviance.



Dark sides of personality

holds an important effect on one’s life and is a determinant of life
satisfaction (Boyce, Wood, & Powdthavee, 2013). The five-factor
model of personality allows to
establish a correlation between one’s character and artists depression –
artists being much more vulnerable to depression than any other industry
worker. Barrick et al’s (2003) Meta-analysis comparing Holland’s occupational
types with the Five-Factor Model of personality (Appendix C), demonstrates the
artistic type negative correlation with all personality traits, excluding
openness. The absence of conscientiousness and extraversion, main predictors of
job performance and well-being, coupled with an excess of neuroticism seem to
influence artists’ depressive states.






Straightforwardly linked with
Passion Theories, there is a number of reasons why Van Gogh and artists engage
in proactive behaviour. Artists making their passion their full-time profession
may participate in proactive behaviour as it generates positive affect through
self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation.

However, dispositional deficiency can
affect artists’ proactive behaviours. Such behaviours are shaped by “individuals’
propensity, values and beliefs” (LePine & Van Dyne, 1998, 2001). Hence, the
lack of personality traits range, mainly extroversion or conscientiousness, and
the inability to exert prosocial orientations (Grant & Mayer, 2009) within one’s profession may limit proactive behaviour.