Today, I was telling one of my coworkers about The Splendid Table, a radio broadcast/podcast about food and cooking that I enjoy listening to. Recently, they had done a segment on designing professional kitchens and the relationship between the chef, the business, and the space itself.
As I was talking, my coworker (herself with 30+ years in the business) and my boss started smirking and cut me off, saying “It’s so cute that you still actually like listening to that stuff! Just wait- in a few years, you’ll HATE hearing about food anytime you don’t have to.”
My boss laughed, “Yep- I’d give him six years and he’ll be looking for a new field to work in…”
My coworker: “Pfft- ONE year!”
Obviously I was hurt, and it made me pretty damned angry. Here were my superiors in this job- charged with teaching me, training me, and guiding me- spitting on the passion and enjoyment of the food world that had brought me to this field in the first place, in an infuriatingly patronizing manner, and simultaneously DOUBTING my passion for the field.
Folks, not every one of my posts has a take-home lesson. I really try not to be that preachy, but if there is a lesson here, it is as follows:
DON’T DO THIS.
Deep at the core, though- powering everything, sustaining you when everything else fails, and guiding you when all else is lost- is your passion.
That’s the part of you that won’t LET you quit, won’t LET you accept the unacceptable.
It’s the part of you that, rather than getting discouraged, tells you to Fail Faster.
It’s the part of you that helps you give body and shape to your dreams.
It’s the part of you that will not allow you to lay down and die.
You should absolutely listen to advice and guidance. Time does often come with experience, which frequently (though not always) comes with wisdom.
My boss and coworker are both very experienced people.
There are other experienced people I have talked to though. They’ve told me
“Don’t let yourself get old.”
“Don’t lose your passion.”
“When you want to quit, don’t forget why you started.”
It’s important to learn what you can from everyone you meet- and it’s just as important to learn to figure out when they are teaching you bull****.
There is a fire in the eyes of the passionate. Whether it’s music, food, poetry, science, architecture, or whatever- when you give someone the chance to talk about their passion and to learn more about it, it is almost as if all the lights go on in their heads and their souls seem to glow.
Do not belittle anyone else’s passion, and don’t you dare apologize for your own.
I have no intent on doing so.