Passionate is Overused

Jeremy sent me a quote from the oh so addicting Steep and Cheap website (this went out in an email as well), I thought it was fantastic.

“Passionate” is the most overused word in job interviews and marketing material. Everyone’s passionate about everything they’re try to sell or the line of work they’re trying to get into. You’re passionate about working on the ad campaign for Absolute vodka? Really? That’s just sad my friend, in so many ways. Whoever started throwing that word around had no regard for depth of the word passion, and frankly, it marginalizes everyone who’s ever truly felt passionate about skiing, surfing, gardening, or anything else you love.

It goes on, and deserves a read.

  • bebfoo

    As someone who uses the word “passionate” to describe myself, I have to agree strongly. There are many things I am passionate about, but far more things that I am NOT. My twitter profile sums up what I am really passionate about:

    “Passionate about fatherhood, ideas, art, tech, life”

    Unfortunately, people who overuse “passionate” do dilute the meaning of the word for those of us who actually mean it (maybe someone IS passionate about writing ads for Vodka, or designing weapons to kill people, but that is pretty damn sad if so.)

    So I am not going to stop using it, since when I use it, I mean it!

  • andrewhyde

    Well said!

  • Isn't that true with just about any adjective of a business practice? Words like “innovative”, “leader”, “creative” and “dynamic” are a bit played out.

    How about words in titles like “guru”, “ninja”, “expert”, “senior”, “director”, “CEO” — anyone with a domain name and a WordPress install seems to be the “CEO” and a “Web Start-Up” these days — “passion” is the least of their problems; maybe the root?

    The more immersed you are in something, the more you see the commonly used “buzz words” that really misrepresent everything and anything.

  • andrewhyde

    The 'thought leader' in my wants to applaud your 'web 2.0' 'out of the box' thinking, you 'maverick' just showed an amazing 'guru' like grasp on the 'semantic web' startup space buzzword hell.

    I think passion sneaks in unchecked more so than the others. Not always a bad thing in blogging/ startups, but when you are applying for a job…

  • Well said..the title I cringe at right now is [wordpress] “Rockstar”

  • bebfoo

    This reminds me of my fave Buzzword Sentence (BS) that a friend made up, and I still have printed on my wall:

    We need to diversify our core competencies in order to leverage our sweet-spot to maximize our sustainable strategic advantage.

  • I'm right there with you on this one. I had this chat with one of my lead developers because we were going to make our tagline “Helping you find a career you are passionate about.”

    It just didn't fly with us because “passion” is being thrown around everywhere. To me, it has completely lost its meaning.

    My favorite time I heard it was when I asked someone, “What is your greatest strength?” “My greatest strength is that I am a passionate person.”

    Eh?… nuff said

    Jun Loayza

  • I dare say I am very passionate about some of the professional marketing work that I do.. in an almost identical way to which I am passionate about electronic music, mountain biking, and traveling to exotic destinations!

    If you can't get excited about creating a brand / ad campaign for a major beverage brand, you're in the wrong business. I can, but I know not for everyone.

    Sure there are people who over use the term. Sure there is a lot of fake professional passion.

    But I am burning with the real thing. Sometimes it gets me the job. Sometimes it costs me the job.

  • What i meant to say is just Awesome post.

  • Anyone who has taught a morning class at a university likely is familiar with the glazed, blasé look that so many students wear to an early class. But one morning last spring, I watched my students’ faces awaken and their eyes catch fire. For half an hour, they leaned forward in their chairs, talking over one another, each eager to say what they had evidently been holding back for so long.

  • IPO

    I do not agree with his points and I have my own reasons to think so.

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