“Passionate” Only Goes So Far

“Passionate” is a buzzword that’s been around for about two years now. It’s already worn thin, and Wachovia bank is replacing it with the word “obsessed” in their commercials. I’d prefer not to have my banker obsessed about me.

Passionate has paled from the original meaning of “without reason, using only emotion,” passed through the business-jargon world meaning “fascinated with and dedicated to” and has now paled to mean “kind of interested in.” And lately it’s being spoken with great emotion as an entitlement adjective to excuse bad behavior.

"passionate people" from personalbrandingblog.wordpress.com

"passionate people" from personalbrandingblog.wordpress.com

“I’m passionate about what I do” generally means, “so I didn’t meet the deadline,” or “Whatever you asked me to do isn’t as important as what I did.” I notice that the assertion is often preceded by “Hey,” so the whole sentence is said, “Hey, I’m passionate about what I do,” implying that the listener is not passionate, while simultaneously pronouncing their passion as more important than anyone else’s.

Here’s a suggestion: quit being so passionate. So inflamed about your cause because it’s about you. Here are some things that are harder to acheive than passion, but far more appreciated:

Be on time.

Show up ready to go, dressed and with the right equipment.

Do what you say you will do.

Check first, not after it’s all gone wrong.

Respect someone else before demanding respect from them.

Don’t ask for special treatment.

Give more than you get.

Be helpful without being asked.

When you do all that, you act passionately. And your behavior shows us far more than what you tell us.

Thank you. Please go back to work now.

–Quinn McDonald is a lif- and creativity coach and a trainer in writing and presentation techniques.