Stupid Job Postings: dream much? edition
“Technically gifted and passionate RoR engineer wanted for one month”
As per policy, I won’t link to the offender. But what are the chances you will find a gifted and passionate engineer available RIGHT THIS SECOND to work a few hours a week for a month, at $50/hour, total payment capped at $2500?
I don’t like this whole job posting obsession with “passion,” anyway. It seems a bit much to demand not merely competence, productivity, honesty, attention to detail, professionalism, and time from employees/contractors, but also passion. It’s a bizarre conceit, I think, somewhat akin to the invention of romantic love in marriage. It’s an attempt to paper over an economic transaction under the guise of emotional attachment. It’s not enough for workers to give our time, our energy, our thoughts, and our creativity to our work — we must also give our very selves, the part of us that is able to feel passion.
I resent this attempt to colonize my emotional landscape. I don’t blame individual job-posters, of course; they’re just using the job-listing language of the day, and not thinking very much about what, actually, it means. Perhaps only freakish people who spent too much time reading cultural studies in college stop to think about the meaning of the current vogue for demanding passionate employees.
Is there evidence I haven’t seen that passionate employees are better employees? Passion does not necessarily improve one’s personal life; I don’t know why it would necessarily improve one’s professional life. On the contrary, passion would seem to most often be a disability at work. It clouds reason and judgment. It encourages overexertion followed by disappointment and ennui. It contributes to misunderstanding and strife, shortens tempers, and fosters unrealistic expectations.
Perhaps I’m just being pedantic, and what the job-listers really mean is “looking for someone who likes their work” but they must use “passionate” because of rampant adjective inflation. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to want to hire people who like to do the job. But that’s not the kind of information you’ll glean until you talk with someone anyway, so there doesn’t seem to be any point in putting it as a requirement on a job listing.
I see “passionate engineer wanted” and think “unrealistic and possibly abusive employer/client”. My passion is not your business, people. Ask me to be professional, mature, conscientious, skilled, creative, honest, efficient, knowledgeable, curious, persistent, thoughtful, and engaged — I can be all these things. But don’t ask me to be passionate. It’s not a love affair, it’s a job.
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