Passion is a strange way to describe work

A hundred years ago, people considered it a dangerous feeling. They were right. When I hear the word “passion,” I imagine two people ripping each other’s clothes off and making furious love in a skyrise. Giving up everything for each other. Making rash decisions, even self-destructive ones, for a fleeting moment of possessive love.

That’s not healthy. That’s the plot of 50 Shades. Why would you want to feel that way about your job?

You can’t choose your career based on how great it looks in a bikini. How its hair dances in the wind. Or how its skin glistens in the sunset. A career is like a marriage. Sometimes, you’ll tell yourself you can’t stand it.

Even dream jobs involve a ton of compromise and grunt work. Tedium. Dread. Anxiety. Moments of self-doubt. And cold feet. If I made career decisions based on how “passionate” I felt, then I’d probably be broke. Instead, I tempered my feelings with calm decision making. Pulled the brakes on my bigger dreams. Put others on the back burner.

Let’s skip ahead fifty years to my death bed. Part of me doubts my dying words will be about the passions I never pursued. Instead, I’ll be glad to make it 80 years on this planet having loved some people. Raised a kid. Run a successful blog. Published a handful of books. Made a difference in higher education. A small difference. And I managed to do all that without going broke. Only the most deluded assholes would look on that life with disdain.

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