Ottawa Valley SAGE

Providing a forum since 1998

Mar 14, 2007 - 4 minute read - Comments

Don't ask employees to be passionate about the company!

I guess I have to learn how to sleep. It’s 02:44 and I have no desire to go to sleep. I despise DST and the circadian rythm it upsets.

I was browsing some items at the LOPSA site the other day and ran across a reference to the 4-question test and a blog article. I hadn’t heard of the 4-question test before, so I had to go and read about it. Here is the result, which probably has a few other formats, but the version I’m using is this one.

The 4-question test:

  1. Do you keep up with trade/professional journals?
  2. Do you know who the key people in the industry are?
  3. Would you spend your own money, if necessary, for better tools?
  4. If you were NOT doing this as your job, would you still do something related to it as a hobby?

The posting referred to an article on a blog that talks about creating passionate users and I thought I’d share . The original article is at Don’t ask employees to be passionate about the company!

I liked the article - anyone who reads it and knows me will see why. I’ll leave that where it is, as my opinions on that are also well known.

It did get me thinking again about the state of the industry here in Ottawa and that we are supposed to be Silicon Valley North. Perhaps that is a past glory phase and things are changing, perhaps not. I’ve not experienced a lack of work, but I know a lot of people who have and still do. It’s interesting that we have so many people not working especially in this day of employers asking for 12 hour days, be available 24/7 and be thankful you have a job. What happened to the industry?

From a lot of gatherings I’ve been to, it appears that a lot of people have lost their passion for their chosen career. They are now cogs in the machine, working excessive hours for an employer that tends to think of them as replacable cogs. I guess that the fallout from the dot-bomb era is ultimately responsible. It has been pretty nasty, and the half-life of the financial-inactivity seems to be considerably longer than past lulls in the market.

I’m surprised we don’t have the ebay employment agency, put youself up on ebay for a job. Excess inventory goes up on ebay, all that gear that was purchased during the “good times” is for sale on there, why not all the excess employees as well? Ebay - purveyor of fine equipment, excess inventory and  previously-employed high-tech workers. There’s a business model there for someone.

Lets see… bargain basement equipment from bankrupt companies, excess available employees, a don’t spend mentality. It’s hard to have a sense of worth, especially if you are earning half of what you did in the pre-bomb era and using 7 year old computers. I’m also not saying that people should have been earning those insane salaries, it’s just hard to adjust afterward.

I think I’ve slipped away from what I was talking about. Circumstances have, at times, forced me to work in areas that I have no personal interest in. That has also reflected in the passion I have for the work. I’d prefer a career instead of a job, a manager or mentor instead of a boss and a direction and destination to work towards - downward spiral and flushing noise do not count as direction and destination.

The good news is that nothing is permanent, not even the “downturn” in the economy. It looks like some areas are opening up (slowly), so maybe it’s time to revisit your own choices and ask the 4-questions. Passion gets you through the rough spots in all aspects of life, so why not figure it out and see where that takes you?

I think I’m rambling now, so this is a good time to stop.