Passion in the Workplace: A Great Concept, But It Won’t Pay Your Bills

I am a long-time follower of Laurie Ruettimann, formerly of the famous (some might say infamous) Punk Rock HR blog, and current author of The Cynical Girl.

One thing I can say about Laurie: she’s never, ever dull or low-key in her writing and opinions. Even if I think she’s 100 percent wrong — as I did a few years ago when we argued over whether you should send a thank-you note after a job interview — she’s always genuine and, some might say, highly passionate in her views.

In fact, Laurie is passionate even when she’s writing about why she’s “sick and tired” of talking about the word passionate, as she makes abundantly clear in this classic commentary (titled The Passion Agenda) that we need a lot more than passion in our working lives. It’s thoughtful, insightful, and well worth reading — but you decide if it’s passionate or not:

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Passion doesn’t pay the bills …

When the American family carries an average of $14,000 in credit card debt, you can either follow your passion or you can pay off your Mastercard bill — but you can’t do either unless you tamp down that ego and realize that nearly all work is meaningful when it puts a roof over your head, feeds your kids, and meets your basic needs in life. …

Performance pays. Passion doesn’t …

You are advised to focus on your real life and the very real opportunities to increase your income in your current job rather than dream about a job that lets you feel good about yourself and makes you rich. That job doesn’t exist.”

Great stuff that’s well worth reading — even if I do think it’s pretty passionate

 For more of this article, click here.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.


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