Why would I “bring my passion to work?” I don’t want to get fired.

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Been #piped out of two jobs since 2014 — and actually three if you count one contract I had. Three in about six years? Seems bad, and might be, but I’d say it kinda reflects how companies broadly work these days. There is not much loyalty out there, and ultimately a lot of companies are run by cost-cutters. (PS: That is exactly why the rise of automation should scare you. Robots cost less long-term than you do.)

Into this loyalty-reduced world of work, we have all these discussions about “passion” and “purpose” and “bringing your authentic self to work.”

Let’s be clear: At some places, and for some people, these concepts would work. In over half the situations, though, being purposeful and passionate and authentic will get you a pink slip.

This is what most managers want

  • Drones
  • Don’t pipe up
  • Do your work
  • Be in a seat somewhere
  • If something shiny and urgent emerges, get on that
  • Be in meetings, not on laptop/phone
  • Respond to e-mails from above you in the hierarchy within 5–10 minutes
  • Take about 2 weeks off total
  • Don’t work from home very much

This varies by organization, of course. It varies for remote employees, of course. Many different scenarios here. But this is definitely what most managers want, because the above elements allow for control, and work is broadly about control.

Words like passion are directly counter to this. A passionate person says “Hey, I love this place. I see where we could be better. Here are some ideas!” Most bosses look at that and sneer. “This isn’t why we’re paying you.”

“Authentic?” Being authentic can be very messy. What manager has time to do that in between meetings, calls, forms, logistics, back-end stuff? Who wants to deal with Todd with the nose ring, dude?

“Purpose” is a thing executives say because it sounds better than “I want to make as much money as is humanly possible and funnel as much of that to myself.” It just tests better in big meetings, you know?

If you display these things at a company, you are usually given the #pipe — and probably within three months. At least at most places I’ve seen.

Your take?

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Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/hire-freelance-writer-ted-bauer/

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