Advice, Side Hustle, Software Engineer

My confession: I have no passion.

I have been thinking about this word for a while, “passion“. I am often envious when I hear people say that they are really passionate about something; for example, writing or coding or cooking or whatever it may be. I have also used the word passionate many times, and whenever I do that, I sort of feel like a fraud. Am I lying to others and worse, lying to myself?

Let me elaborate a bit more on this. For example, I care about the issue with lack of women in technology and I’d like to do my part to raise awareness and help out where I can. But does it make it enough to claim that I am passionate about gender diversity in technology? It feels even worse when people use the word “passionate” to describe me. “Isabel is so passionate about career development.” “Isabel shows her passion in her writings.

The more I think about passion, the more I realise that it is subjective. Unlike your BMI, there is no standard formula to tell you whether you are truly passionate about something or not. I also realise why I feel a bit uncomfortable whenever I use the word passion or the adjective passionate to describe something I do enjoy doing. 

You see, many people tend to say they are passionate about one particular thing, and one thing only. For example, Mary might say she is passionate about writing and all she wants to do every single day is to write. John might say he is passionate about cooking and that is why he quit his job as an accountant to become a chef. Me? I am not like Mary nor am I like John. I don’t have one particular passion and one that is so strong that I want to pursue that one interest for unforeseeable future. I have a lot of things that I care about and I enjoy doing, but they are often changing from time to time. 

So the truth is, if you are like me, and you don’t feel like you don’t have any passion, then don’t feel bad. I am sure there are many things in your life that you enjoy doing and they describe who you are as a person. Now I would like to share with you what I enjoy doing and things that put a smile on my face. In no particular order:

  • Spending time with my loved ones
  • Being productive
  • Learning new skills
  • Coming up with a great idea or a solution
  • Creating things 

As you can see, they are vague and broad. It would be weird to say “I am passionate about spending time with my loved ones” or “I have a passion for being productive”. There is a saying that “follow your passion and everything will fall into place”. I used to feel like I was going to be stuck at my job forever and be a fairly average person (not that there is anything wrong with being average) because I can’t seem to figure out what that one passion is that I need to follow. And then I panic and worry about my future. 

But I think I am going to be ok. And if you are like me, you will be too. Because in the end, every one of us is unique and different. Even if some of us don’t have any passion or don’t believe that we do, as long as we are doing what we love and we are having more good days than bad ones, having a passion or not doesn’t really matter in the end.  

Career Guide for Software Developers