Are you a passion fruit?

Does your cover letter or LinkedIn profile state that you are passionate about [name some work-related activity here]?

Mine does not.

Quite simply because I am not passionate about business analysis. Dedicated? Yes. Keen to share my experiences? Certainly. Enthusiatic to learn more? Definitely. Passionate? Nope.

If I was desperate to work for Donald Trump or Alan Sugar, then I probably would claim to be passionate about their business interests. But I would be lying, just as you probably are when you say you are passionate about bridging the gap between business and technology to implement agile solutions so as to deliver added-value to high-end customers in a challenging market.

Pants on fire!

Alan Sugar and Donald Trump don’t believe you when you say you are passionate about their business. But I imagine they still like it when you say it, because it tells them you are probably willing to sacrifice the things you should be passionate about in order to climb the ladder. I am a freelance consultant. I am not passionate about my customers’ businesses. When most of my customers come looking for me, they are looking for my skills and my professionalism, not my fake passion. When they want fake passion, they look for full-time employees.

Passion is usually only real at work is when the work is vocational. When I eat in a restaurant, I can tell whether the chef is passionate about cooking. I expect an artist to be passionate about art, or a writer about writing. When someone in the world of software development is really passionate about what they do, watch out! They will waste your money because instead of giving you what you need, they will spend time crafting that beautiful thing that feeds their passion and drains your budget.

Hyberbole in your profile insults the reader’s intelligence. It would certainly insult me if I were hiring. Where will it lead to when the word “passionate” becomes passé?

“I am concupiscent at the idea of leveraging best practises to bring enterprise solutions in time to market.”

I am a mercenary. My clients do not expect me to be passionate about business analysis, they just expect me to be bloody good at it. They do not expect me to be passionate about their business, they just expect me to give a damn about providing them with the service they are paying me for. They do not expect me to be passionate about their corporate dreams any more than they are passionate about my personal ones.

It’s bad enough that the business world stole the most beautiful word in the English language and perverted it: “blackberry“. Now “passion” has been pilfered. It is no longer the preserve of the poet, the artist, the lover and the athlete. It is now the property of marketer, the java programmer, the project manager and the actuary.

I don’t blow smoke at my clients. I speak plainly to them. Hence my willingness to declare my lack of passion. Were it otherwise, I would be about as useful on business change initiatives as a cocker spaniel. But more expensive and with better table manners. Certainly, not all my clients like the plain truth, but those who don’t should not be hiring a freelance business analyst.

Save passion for your family, for your vocation, for your garden or for your collection of antique chess boards. Let’s be professional at work and passionate at home. And let’s not blow smoke at each other.

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

Passionate about you, but useless at modelling your business architecture.

2 comments to Are you a passion fruit?

  • Declan

    Many years ago I read “In Search of Excellence” and it was a treatise on passion and champions.However I believe these were people at the top of the corporate food chain(or self-employed). (Contrast Steve Jobs with certain Apple factory staff). Nowadays I wonder if business leaders/mamagers have usurped “passion” to compensate for flatter management structures? Increasingly I detect that there are project X “champions”, “lead for” “blah blah implementation and flux eliminiation “heroes” all of whom have “passion” but fewer people in charge. I think with reduced hierarchy comes less discrimination/differentiation and all that’s left is adjectivisation in place of skills and authority. I think when corporations and employers annoint someone as a lead/champion/hero it gives the recepient responsibility/culpability without the authority (and appropriate promotion), which looks good in the payroll department. I may be cynical but I always feel that those champions/leaders/heroes are gullible.Call me old fashioned but I think you get what you pay for.

    This topic reminds me of a post you did about interviewers asking whether you would do extra hours!

  • Visitor

    Excellent post. “Passion” has been overused to the point of turgidity.
    Mind you, I don’t mind the word “enthusiastic”, as many people can be enthusiastic about their jobs.

    Especially (PASSIONATELY, EMPHATICALLY, YOU BETCHA!) agree about the smoke, as I am asthmatic and smoke can be life-threatening! 😉

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