Is it better to do something you love, or learn to love whatever job you do? Trick question! It doesn’t even matter: More and more employers want you to exhibit glowing passion for your position, regardless of how you really feel.
It’s not hard to understand why there’s a premium on positive energy. Enthusiasm is infectious, and a passionate worker is presumed to be a more productive one. This may be true in some cases, and love of the game may be necessary for certain positions—but we also all probably know from experience that you can get many a job done without caring in the slightest about the company you’re doing it for, or even the job itself. Self-motivation used to be the bare necessity to live, eat and survive; now you’ve got to really love your job, 37 pieces of flair and all.
Paul Jaskunas, a humanities professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art, wrote an op-ed this week at the New York Times called “The Tyranny of the Forced Smile,” and it’s a relatable lament about the disturbing trend that everyone demonstrate high enthusiasm at all times for their work. Jaskunas writes: