Whenever I hear the “P” word used in a business context I cringe. I can’t be the only one. It’s just so loaded with insincerity and received instruction and I know the person using it has not even the imagination to think of another word to use in its clichéd stead.
What upsets me the most is that “passion” is a word that is totally inappropriate in the context of business. It relates to only the most powerful of emotions such as love and hate. There doesn’t seem to be a place for these emotions at work, to my mind. “Passion” is also the word used to describe Jesus’ suffering following the last supper. Whether or not you are a person of faith, is that a useful parallel for enthusiasm at work?
My guess is that “passion” has come into the business vocabulary via business leaders and coaches who have taken it upon themselves to ensure that nothing comes before work in our lives. In order to prove that we are a fully paid up member of corporate life, on track for the top table, we must talk about how passionate we are about customer service, quality management, people development or whatever it is we have chosen as our field of endeavour.
And so, whenever I hear that word, I just don’t believe the person saying it. Fortunately I don’t hear it that often. It’s much more in the press, business textbooks and journals that the word is used than in real life. Just as well; passion is a real turn off.