Q. “As a condition of being hired, you have to bring passion to the job every day. Can you do that?”
A. “Absolutely. Never met her but give me her address and I’ll swing by on my way to work.”
Funny? Maybe. And if you want to go ahead and steal that from me, be my guest. It’s original; well as far as I know anyhow.
I ask you though, is it essential that you bring passion to work on a daily basis? Given that there are billions of people on the planet and a broad spectrum of jobs out there, it’s conceivable that some jobs demand it and others don’t. Look at a lot of job postings these days however and you see that word more often than not.
So this becomes problematic if you aren’t the demonstrative sort. You might in fact be the very kind of person who isn’t really passionate about anything in your life be it professional or personal. That by the way doesn’t make you negatively abnormal, nor does it mean you are disinterested in your work, or are you destined to be any less likely to succeed.
It does mean however that some employers are going to pass you over because you don’t exhibit that key quality which they’ve identified as essential in each of the members of their workforce. This isn’t the end of the world; it just means you’re not well-suited for that particular company and if you were hired, you’d undoubtedly not be a good fit with the others working there. In passing you over, the employer has done themselves and you a big favour by wisely hiring someone else who best exhibits that enthusiasm and passion so necessary to perform at the levels they expect.
So instead of lamenting the fact that you don’t bring passion to the job, or worse yet trying to fake it and be something other than your authentic self, turn your attention to your natural strengths and disposition. It is of course quite possible to be punctual, reliable, work hard and work to meet deadlines with a high degree of regularity without necessarily needing to add passion to the mix. These are also highly desirable qualities which employers value too.
Take the assorted tools a Gardener would use. Whether it’s a shovel with a rounded head, an edger, a pick axe, a hoe or a rake, each tool is the right tool; the perfect tool, depending on the job you use it for. Likewise, each tool is not well designed for some jobs and no tool is the best tool for all jobs. The same can be said for any personal quality you have.
In fact, that analogy of the Gardener’s tools is a good one for you to think about and possibly even share with an interviewer if they are questioning your passion and you meet the job requirements in every facet except that one. You can have a solid work ethic without it for example and should you be able to extol this virtue, you might win over an employer who started out looking for passion in their employees but didn’t themselves really understand why.
Returning to the notion of faking it, is it possible to, ‘fake it until you make it’? Well I suppose anything is possible. The notion that you could fake being passionate about your job responsibilities until one day you wake up and realize you are genuinely passionate about it might occur; who am I to say? But I suspect that would be a rare thing. Far more likely is the idea that you could fake it and get hired only to find you can’t maintain the pretense of bringing passion to the job and then you are exposed. Besides, do you really want to start off this way and feel you have to keep up appearances instead of being your genuine authentic self?
To do the above, it would consume a tremendous amount of mental and physical energy; energy which you would be better advised to put into the very work you are being paid to do. You only have so much of it to start with and if your mind is split between the work to be done and trying to keep your body language and attitude attuned to what a passionate person would look like, you can’t be working at your best.
Now don’t get me wrong. Any employer has the right to establish the qualities they desire in the people who join their workforce and passion may be one of them. Good questions to approach your research with when considering applying for such an employer are, “What do they mean by passion?” “What does passion translate into on a daily basis?” “Why is passion defined as critical?”
Keep in mind that the work you are looking for is likely out there with a variety of employers. So if passion is sought by one employer and not another for essentially the same work, choose your employer and pass the other by. The fit has to be right for you as well as them. If however you note that this single quality is sought be every employer in your line of work, that would be something to reflect strongly on.
All the very best to you this day and every day to come!