We come into this world with so much passion for so many things. We love our food, our toys and people close to us. We are passionate about new experiences and repeating old experiences that we particularly like. We like security, but at the same time, we have a stubborn and independent streak that makes us passionate about doing things we have our mind on, even if we are told not to! That’s what passion is about. Employers are looking for people with passion. If we do not lose our early passion, we should be in a strong position later in life to be very successful in getting a job and being successful at work. Do you agree?
Being passionate about the organization we work for, can be very different from passion about our specific job. What is most important? Probably, from an acceptability and career perspective it is more important to be passionate about our employment. In some cases, it is truly sincere, but in most cases, it is conditioned behavior, reflecting the way we believe we should be acting. It could include:
- Strong support for our boss
- Learning and saying the right things
- Speaking up at meetings and making suggestions
- Always appearing busy and working long hours
Although such behaviors may fit the way work passion is generally viewed, they are just as likely to reflect smart people accepting they have to work and adapting their style to fit the circumstances. In some cases, they may be better actors than workers.
Being passionate about the actual job (the work performed) can be totally different and not always positive. For example:
- Trying to be perfect and often taking too long to finish tasks
- Not reacting well to criticism from
the boss about how the job should be performed
- Being defensive and somewhat secretive as though trying to be indispensable
- Coming up with unrealistic, often costly suggestions, exaggerating the importance of the job
- May seem too contemplative and may not work long hours
However, although the job passion employee may sometimes be a “pain”, he/she may still provide greater output than the company passion person who talks the talk, but may not walk the work.
What type of “passion” is most important? The employees in my examples both seem incomplete. There seem to be other practical factors that are far more important than passion. For example:
- Understanding the job and how it fits into a typical organization
- Being flexible and adaptable to change
- Committed to performing the job well and meeting employment requirements
- Practical and analytical in contributing to job improvement
- Able to work well as part of and in conjunction with a team
These practical considerations seem to be far more relevant than passion. In reality, it does not seem realistic to expect employees to be passionate. With some exceptions, most organizations are somewhat harsh and not particularly committed to employees, so it would seem unrealistic to expect employees to be passionate about their job.
Employees should be committed and diligent, of course, but the relationship realistically would be contractual (work for pay) at an adult level with appropriate mutual respect. There may, of course, be some passion, but that is more likely to be environment related, working with nice people and nice management - passion that is not necessarily linked to the organization as an entity. What do you think?
Thank you for your interest. I look forward to any thoughts and comments you may have.