Is it just me, or is it hot in here?
Microsoft murmurs in our ear: "Your Potential. Our Passion."
Ketchum, the public-relations agency, tries to have it both ways: "Passion and Precision in Communication."
Worthwhile Magazine exhorts readers to "Work with Purpose, Passion & Profit."
Dassault Systemes has a "Passion for Innovation."
Enzon Pharmaceuticals is too excited for punctuation: "People Passion Performance Pride Profits."
At L'Oreal Canada, "we share a passion for well-being, beauty, and conquering new markets." (But not for parallel syntax.)
Carpet maker Milliken & Company has a "corporate passion for trees and forests" that led to an Arbor Day tree-planting program.
When The Body Shop launched a line of products using passionfruit, it posted signs in corporate headquarters encouraging workers to "Work with Passion" and "Laugh with Passion." (According to my source, Stephanie Vollmer of Wicked Prose--no web site, alas--there was even a sign in the bathroom that said "Pee with Passion.")
Creating Passionate Users is...mmmm...spreading the love.
And everyone--absolutely everyone--is seeking "people with a passion for [fill in the blank]" to occupy the cubicle down the hall.
How did we get so darned amorous about what used to be called the rat race?
Blame Tom Peters. In 1985 he published A Passion for Excellence, and since then he's tirelessly trod the globe, trying to keep the office fires burning. If he had a slogan, it would doubtless be "My Passion Is Passion."
Personally, although some people I know derive occasional satisfaction from their work, I know no one who approaches the daily grind with passion, unless it's in the original Latin sense of "suffering." (Whence "The Passion of the Christ.")
Still, "passion" has struck a chord--a monotonous, meaningless, tuneless chord, but a sort of noise nonetheless. I'll grant you this: As a linguistic marker, "passion" is certainly juicier than "ambition" or "willingness to endure long hours and continual abuse in exchange for a paycheck."
And so the passionate chorus continues, swelling and throbbing and mounting in a crescendo of...
Hark! I feel a poem coming on.
Hot and Bothered
I’ve noticed that it’s all the fashion
To boast about “our corporate passion.”
It’s nothing short of patriotic
To speak of work in terms erotic.
Statements of the corporate miss-
ion sound distinctly feverish.
Where once a job was dull and fusty
It’s now the font of all things lusty.
While slaving on-site or remote-ish
We itch! We pant! We’re downright goatish!
The nine-to-five inspires such ardor
I sense that some are working … harder.
Such fervor—really, it’s the oddest!
And thus to my proposal modest:
Let’s nip this bud right now, pre-flower,
And hop into a nice cold shower.