While you’re considering your career, preparing for it, researching the boundaries, no doubt you’ve come up against the word passion. We are now encouraged to be passionate at work. How can you discover that career that fulfills your passion? Is that necessary for you? Frankly, I’m skeptical. The word choice bothers me more than the concept but I’m still skeptical about the concept.


I like my passion to remain intimate, private, limited to my personal life. At work I like to be animated, enthusiastic, I like to enjoy my work, for it to have meaning. But passion? C’mon…
Passion is a word that, to me, is not work-related. Why should I not enthuse at work and leave my passion fresh and untainted for my life? My work is not all I’m about nor do I ever want it to be. I don’t believe people should look to their work to define them, I think they should be well-defined enough that they stand out at work. I don’t just slink home at night or on the weekends and just sit in front of the tube, just shop, just eat, and just wait for the morning or the Monday and my work, where I can be passionate again.  Nor do I go home and continue doing work stuff because I couldn’t get it all done at work or because I’m so passionate about it.  Yuck, yuck, yuck.  I HAVE a life.
I admit, for me work has been a place I earn a living. If it fits well with what I do well, that’s great, but in some cases that hasn’t happened and there have been very good reasons. My career calls on my professional as well as my personal attributes, but the workplace has never been flexible enough to let me be myself to the level where I’m willing to take my passion there without trying to reshape it drastically.
Passion isn’t always pretty, nor are there many workplaces that can handle passion, positive or not.

So this got me interested in the passion at work trend. What is it there for?

Meanings of the word passion

Oxford Classic Dictionary (VUW library database):
in Theology: “The term is used absolutely of the Lord’s redemptive suffering during the last days of His earthly life, and especially of His Crucifixion.” (Overview)
in Philosophy: “In Aristotelian thought a passion is a general category of being complementary to that of action; a receptive power, or the capacity to be affected by the action of another thing” (Metaphysics 1022b). In the more restricted and common usage, passions are the affections of the mind, or the feelings by which the mind is affected and moved. See emotion.  (Oxford dictionary of philosophy)

If you look at synonyms for the word passion, they are related to:
Desire: Hunger, Thirst, Appetite, Craving, Lust, Urge, Ache
Rage: Fury, Outburst, Fever, Anger, Furore, Fit, Paroxysm, Storm, Dudgeon, Wrath, Ire, Temper, Choler
Fervour: Ardour, Obsession, Infatuation, Excitement, Enthusiasm, Zeal, Craze, Delight, Fervidness, Emotion, Fervency.
The antonym is Indifference. (Word 2013 synonyms)

The opposite of indifference. Now we’re talking!


I squirm when an interviewer asks me about what I am passionate about. I don’t think they really want to know.  For too many interviewers it’s just a question.  In the end it largely depends on how you answer it, not whether you really tell them what you’re passionate about.

Let’s check out some the viewpoints on the passion debate:

Should you “do what you love” for a living?  This is an online article from The Honesty Experiment about this.  The second paragraph has links worth following (i.e. Bad career advice: do what you love; The cult of passion, NYTimes; Five good reasons to ignore the advice…).

Eunice Hill Don’t just follow your passion.  A young speaker with passion.  This is an example of a good presentation for those of you interested.

Why you’re going to fail to have a great career, Larry Smith on TedX. (9.49).

Suli Breaks, for some challenge to achievements, education, jobs. Rappish revolution. If you haven’t seen Suli Breaks before, do look – he’s got a large number of videos along these themes on YouTube.

Why you should quit your job
There are two types of people in this world
I hate school but I love education

In the meantime, don’t stop looking for a career that interests you, passion or not. Here’s a career guide that sounds FUN.
The Adventures of Johnny Bunko – comic career guide, by Daniel Pink, who I talked about in my last blog, ‘Monopoly without money’.  The Resources section is worth browsing…especially The Flip Manifesto, which has some ideas that are very nearly revolutionary.

Here’s the Recipe, some great soup for this cooling weather.

Chiang Mai (Curry) Soup

I make this one in minutes when I get home from work at night. If I don’t have meat thawed out, I simply make a vegetable version.

Oil for frying
1 large onion, finely sliced
4 large cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 ½ tsp Thai red curry paste
240ml coconut cream
500ml stock, homemade or packaged, or stock cubes
300g chicken or pork, minced or finely sliced
3 T Thai fish sauce
2 t milk curry powder
½ t turmeric
1 t brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Optional: 300g thin fresh egg noodles or 200g dried egg noodles or vermicelli

Start the onions in the oil,  cook till they’re limp.  Then chuck in the garlic and curry paste, stir around for about 30 seconds. Then I chuck ingredients in from the top down, cooking all together. This is quick, painless and comes out 5-star.
Optional: either cook the noodles in boiling water and add to soup or just chuck it into the boiling broth as the meat’s cooking.

Nice with roti, a boiled egg and probably good with gherkins, although I haven’t tried yet.  It’s a meal on its own or very good before a light meal.

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