The importance of passion in the workplace cannot be overstated. Not that burning lustful eroticism that leads one to couple with a coworker in a storage closet (specifically not that kind; charges were dropped), but that which gives life meaning and leads to outside-the-box thinking, increased productivity and excessive punctuation.
Now, by some stroke of luck, or perhaps by sheer dint of numbers, it’s possible you’ve achieved a level of success in your career without having identified your passion. If this is the case, if you’ve managed to climb the corporate ladder without stating that which makes you leap out of bed in the morning, drive like a maniac to the office mowing down the occasional passerby, literally push people out of the way as your sprint from the elevator to your desk—cold sweat pooling in your loafers, your fingers aching to graze those keys—it’s only a matter of time before the oversight is discovered and you’re revealed to be a hollow tube of flesh. You see, passion is what transforms a mere office worker from a schmuck in a monkey suit to a schmuck in a monkey suit who maintains a blog about fly-fishing. And without a passion for fly-fishing, how exactly are you supposed to be an accountant? You see the conundrum.
For everyone there is that one thing alone which makes you tick, grinds your coffee, butters your parsnips, dusts your knick-knacks, grooms your alpaca, trims the crust off your turkey sandwich, charges your smartphone and puts a surprise in your trousers. This is your passion.
Larry loved seedless cucumbers and every day at 7 pm on the dot he recorded a podcast about his passion. Not heirloom tomatoes, not fiddlehead ferns, not ramps, not even regular cucumbers, just seedless cucumbers. (Yes, he had a troubling affinity for gherkins but he didn’t want to dilute his brand.) Once Larry amassed a healthy subscriber base he quit his job to devote all his energy to cultivating his passion and in a short amount of time he became the go-to authority on seedless cucumbers. How did he do it? How did he build his brand so effectively in the crowded seedless cucumber blogosphere? He podcasted, vlogged, went to cucumber conventions, left comments on gardening blogs and just basically messed around on his computer. Sometimes whole days passed because when you’re doing what you love, what you’re meant to do, your passion, time flies. Also because he used one of those clocks powered by a potato and the thing seldom worked. Larry’s wife left him, his house has been repossessed, he smells funny and he’s battling a serious case of root rot but he doesn’t care because he’s living his passion.
But what if you don’t have a passion? Without a passion, you’re pretty much screwed. It’s not just that your life will be meaningless and your children, if you have any, will be ashamed of you, it’s that you’ll soon be out of a job because you won’t be able to answer the question, “What’s your passion?”
Don’t you care about anything? Doesn’t anything make you enthusiastic? What are you, Jerry Seinfeld? And don’t say your passion is being a nice person or having a happy life because not only are those obvious but you can’t sell ads around them.
To lack a passion is to be un-American. Then again, terrorists and zealots have a lot of passion so it’s not just about having passion, it’s about have the right kind of passion. It’s about being _passion_ately correct.
Should this prove insurmountable, should you be unable to locate your wheelhouse, do not throw yourself off the nearest bridge. There are a few careers where passion is not only not a requirement, it’s a hindrance. If you work in a slaughterhouse or mortuary it’s prudent to be, at best, lukewarm about your job. No one will fault you for a matter-of-fact approach. Similarly, there’s nothing to be gained from working yourself into a lather before administering a mammogram or neutering a dog. Basically if your job requires you to palpate, cup, cradle, excise, extrude or lance anything, the less giddy you appear the better.
In all other situations, however, anything short of Bieber Fever will only hurt you.