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  • Beads Land-Trujillo

    There's something wrong with how this is being formulated. First, the idea that one "recruits for passion" suggests that passion is a KSA that can be identified in an interview or on an employment assessment, rather than being a stance in relation to a particular activity. I could be someone with a marketing degree who is passionate about coaching little league and still have no passion for coordinating ad buys. It isn't something you hire for.

    Nor is passion something one can "instill" in another. At an education workshop I attended many years ago, one of our instructors advised "No teacher can motivate their students. Students come into the classroom with their own motivations. The job of the teacher is to discover what those motivations are, and teach to that." Motivation, passion, same idea.

    Neither are some universal, undifferentiated quality that can be instilled or enhanced by someone else or found to be abundant in some people and absent in others. Students are motivated about certain things of importance in their lives, workers are passionate about specific things that are salient to them as persons. We can choose to meet individuals where they are, where their motivations are, where their passions are, and facilitate the fuller expression of those motivations, those passions, but when we "bring forth" and "tap into" (these phrases being correct) passions, plural, it isn't by any attempt to "instill" or "recruit for" passion, singular.

    That all said, there is an issue on the other side of this relationship, in that our citizenry lives under the impression that they are not supposed to be passionate about their work, that doing something you really enjoy is simply not a realistic option in life but for the lucky few. So long as the vast majority of us are living under the impression that work is about money first and only, there is little room for passion (unless you happen to be passionate about money, as such).

    It's the difference that author Richard Bolles articulates in his distinction between a job and a vocation. In What Color Is Your Parachute, he devotes the first half of the book to job-hunting, to individuals looking to get hired by an employer because they think that is what you're supposed to do with your life. The second half of the book is about really figuring out one's passions, and then building a vocation around that. This has the potential to transform the employer-employee relationship, because the employer is no longer whatever company happens to hire you and who pays you to do their work, instead, they become a partner in you fulfilling your passions, who happen to pay you for the privilege of facilitating your own self-fulfillment.

    One final thought: there's a meme that popped up on my Facebook feed recently, that pointed out that there may not be a lot of jobs available, but it's not for lack of work. There are plenty of things that need to be done in our society, plenty of work to be done, but that work isn't represented by the job market, it isn't represented by the employers-as-those-who-give-us-work-to-do model.

    Rather than waiting for our employers to "instill" passion in their employees, we as workers could be doing a lot more to find work that we are passionate about. That work may not pay well, if at all, but this too can transform our relationship to employers, as Carol Eikenberry in the Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People explains, there's no reason we can't use the pay we earn in one job to finance our passions in another kind of work. Here, a job is transformed from something we think we need to do to earn for the sake of earning, to a vehicle for investing in the furtherance of our passions.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    What do you think would make employees more passionate?