Thomas Sundberg

March 28, 2011

What is you passion?

Filed under: Software development — Tags: , — Thomas Sundberg @ 16:11

This post has been migrated to

A colleague of mine said a while ago that he used to ask that question to a certified scrum trainer. The trainer always answers that he will have to get back with an answer. One can speculate in why the person who got the question didn’t have a good answer ready. The are a few options, either he does what he does because he has a passion for it or because he is good at it and it pays good money.

The question is valid, not only to a scrum trainer, but to anyone who sells his services. It could be a consultant or perhaps someone applying for a job.

It happens that I attend interviews with candidates that are applying for a job as developers. I always try to find out if they have a passion for their profession or not. If you have a passion for what you do, you will be good at it after a while. You may not be the best developer yet, but since you have a passion you have a good chance of becoming a great developer..

Is passion always good? It depends. I have a friend who is studying to become a nurse. She was overwhelmed her first time in school because many of the other students had a fantastic passion, or possible a fanatic passion, for nursing. This is of course a good thing. But if they are willing to do the job without getting paid, they will of course do the job without getting paid. Or with a very bad salary. This may not be the best thing for you as a person if your colleagues will do the same job as you, but will do it for free. You will have a hard time getting paid in that situation. And that is the case with nurses both in Sweden and in Finland.

The same situation applies to musicians. Professional musicians are often paid really bad. The reason is simple, there are a lot of amateur musicians that will play for free. The amateurs aren’t as good as the professionals, but the normal listener can’t hear the difference. Chances are that you who are reading this don’t understand the difference. I am an amateur musician, I play the trombone, and I know that I can’t always hear the difference.

There are cases that are different. Doctors are often paid better than nurses, but to become a good doctor you need passion. But in this case, they have realized that they an combine the two.

So what is your passion? Try to find an answer to that question and describe it when you are selling yourself. That may be as a consultant, when you apply for a job or anything else. But make sure that you get reasonable paid for your passion, otherwise you destroy for yourself and everyone else with a similar passion.

What is my passion then? At this point in my life it is development and teaching about development. I want to develop things in a good way. That translates into fast feed back loops and experimenting my way forward. This in turn translates into using eXtreme Programming as much as possible.
My passion may change. But this is something I expect. A static life isn’t something I would want to live. I have realized that I’m always headed somewhere professionally and that suits me just fine.

So, ask yourself what your passion is next time you try to sell your services and make sure that it is your passion that you sell.


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