Passion is hurting your career!

Since Linkedin became world’s universal recruitment platform job offers have become commonplace. You’re not looking for a job at your dream company anymore and apply with the classic CV and cover letter. Chances are, your dream company and others like it are looking for you. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. What I do know is that there’s a big problem with software developer recruitment practices. I haven’t attended 1 single interview in the past 2.5 years where the recruiter didn’t ask me about my passion for my job.

— Are you passionate about what you do? — What is your passion? — When did you get passionate about software development?

Passion, passion, passion…

I’d like to express my discontent with this search of passionate people.

Not a single day goes by without hearing something about passion. Job interviews, television, tech big-shot speeches, they’re all littered with the P-word. We suddenly came to believe that passion is the only feature of a successful professional.

I was very passionate about being a guitarist. So passionate that I even bought a guitar! Am I a famous guitar player? A professional one? No, I’m not! I’m just a software developer. I’m still passionate about playing the guitar, though.

When did we forget about hard work?

The need for good, experienced developers has decreased in the past couple of years. Senior devs better start being awesome, enthusiastic, excited, thrilled and passionate or they’ll have to look for work in the factories.

#ProTip 1: Take a pill of Ecstasy before an interview. That’s how recruiters know you’re passionate.

#ProTip 2: Works with cocaine as well! A bit more expensive, though.

The monster that current recruitment practices created is all-inclusive, diverse and passionate. It doesn’t have the notion of work ethics, and doesn’t know about what hard work means. All it can think about is tools, frameworks, libraries and what the current job can offer him/her/it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very passionate about what I do. But this came with time. I wasn’t that excited in 2010 trying to make sense of the ECMAScript 5 spec at 3AM, while on my 7th coffee of the day. But I kept moving forward. I sacrificed leisure time and I constantly struggled to be more organised.

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. — Marcus Aurelius

It is the way you respond to obstacles that defines what you are. Merely standing in the face of an obstacle won’t make it remove itself. Running won’t make it better either.

Take the following analogy: you’re walking on a mountain path and suddenly you find that a large amount of snow is blocking your passage. You can wait for spring to come and the snow to melt. This leaves you vulnerable to long winters and geographical placement (mountain areas have lower temperatures in spring). You can also die, eaten by a pack of hungry wolves by the time spring comes. You can turn back and abandon everything, thinking that you need to try a different path. You can shovel your way through (bare hands if need-be). You can climb on the snow and move to the other side.

Which one do you choose? Do you choose to sit and wait? Or do you choose to work meticulously on getting to the other side?

You can be a mere daydreamer, hoping of making it big, striking work-life balance having time for side-projects with the latest-and-greatest technologies and also buy a nice home and car and becoming an angel investor. Or you can get yourself together, create a proper plan, and follow that plan with military rigour.

Nothing worhtwile comes without hard work. Even the luckiest of us had their share of it. We’re only presented with the success stories and the unicorns who woke up one morning and said I’m going to create this thing. And this thing proved to be a huge success.

Think about it, how many are they? 100, 1000, 10000? The world population is estimated to reach 7.5 billion this year, so the odds of you making it big, just like that, are pretty small.

Although you are presented with role models who made it by following their passion, just sit down for a minute and ask yourself if you’re being told the whole story. Think about your last hard-earned success. When someone asked you about it, you probably said: “It was a breeze!”, “Piece of cake!”. What you probably forgot to mention were the hours you spent reading. All the midnight coffees, getting up early and immersing yourself in study or work. The failures. The misses.

All that preamble for success matters and is always worth mentioning. It is also what keeps you motivated to do your job. Knowing that at the end of the day, you’ll figure things out and you as a person, will be better than yesterday’s version of yourself.

Stop carving out stories people want to hear but stories people need to hear!

Photo credits: Anthony Eastonpurple passion FSOD

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