Trawling through The Scotsman’s job adverts recently, I was surprised to discover how many recruiters required applicants to be “passionate” about the product or service they provide. Perhaps it is just about possible to be passionate about looking after elderly people (as I reach my less youthful period, I hope so) but is it really possible to be “passionate” about leather luggage, or “passionate” about working on a computer helpdesk?
It may be, though, that the use of the word “passion” is more subtle: its root meaning, from the Latin patior, means to suffer, endure or put up with. The Latin writers often used it with dolor (pain or misery) or servitus (slavery). Do recruiters really want their employees to suffer in their efforts at selling luggage? Or is it the fact that the UK economy is still not out of the recessionary woods that means a return to the idea of work as a painful and unpleasant form of servitude?
Dr Mary Brown