I have a bugbear! My bugbear is the over-use of the word ‘passionate’. Everyone has to be passionate about something or other. It seems that unless you are ‘passionate’ about your job the implication is that you won’t be interested enough in it, that you don’t care, that you won’t produce the goods.
In today’s post was a horticultural supplies catalogue with an introduction written by the owner/director in which she talked about her team of ‘passionate garden product designers’. This conjures up to me a rather amusing image of all sorts of extra-curricular activities going on in the drawing office! I am old fashioned I expect, but to me, to be passionate means that one let’s one’s heart rule one’s head, that things aren’t thought out properly because one has rushed into something without thinking. I don’t want passion when ordering bathroom supplies or buying furniture, I want to talk to someone who knows their job and will understand my needs. Enthusiasm, yes, I can deal with that, as long as I can be helped efficiently. I am quite happy to be advised by a miserable old sod predicting doom and gloom as long as I get the right advice.
When E started at nursery school, her teacher came to visit us to talk about E’s needs and the facilities provided at the school. My heart sank when the woman told us that she was passionate about teaching and the children she cared for. E, even more than me, cares not a jot about passion in ordinary life. She needed and still needs plain speaking, calm and authoritative but kindly people around her. E’s teacher got very upset when E didn’t really take to her. E only settled into school when she moved up to the Reception class run by a very sensible woman who was considered strict by some. Her classroom was quiet, busy and well run and E thrived.
I am not saying there isn’t a place for passion. The world would be a very dull place without it and I get passionate myself about certain things – art, nature, music, beautiful objects, certain ideals I have, the need for conservation etc. It is the word ‘passionate’ being misapplied that I object to. People think that they are expected to over-enthuse about their job when it is just a job they are good at. Unless you say in an interview that you are passionate about dealing with the public when you are going for a tele-sales job for example, you probably don’t stand a chance of getting it.
Please let us get rid of this ‘passion’ and just get on with doing our jobs properly!