For the most part, passionis a great thing. It's a word associated with fervor, fire and zeal. As a software developer, passion is what keeps me going. It's what pushes me to innovate, invent and create the best possible solution for the problem at hand. If I were forced to describe myself, I think I would choose, A Passionate Opensource Software Developer.
The flip side is that passion can drive you to the brink of insanity, if you let it. Many a night have I burnt the midnight oil implementing just one more feature. The same thing happens when I feel like a project is slipping behind or not going as smoothly as I would like. I over-analyze the situation, and look for any way to get back on track. More than once, this has led me into some pretty controversial situations. I haven't been afraid to tell people blatently when I think they're wrong, or when a process is broken and needs to be changed.
Some might consider this arrogance, but I expect people to be passionate for their work. You've got to be confident if you really believe you're right.
Last week I started work on a project I would dub The Worst Project I've Worked On In The Past Two Years. It's essentially taking everything I just learned from the amazing Getting Realbook by 37signals and throwing it right out the window. Meeting after meeting, with no end in sight. No clear definition or visionof what we're trying to attain. Constant speculation about what the user wantsinstead of just building it and listening to their feedback. I can't count the number of times I've wanted to impale myself with my pen while sitting through hour after hour of meeting.
Yes, passion can be a great thing, but there are definitely times when I wish I could turn it off. It would be great to be like the mindless drones around me once and a while. It'd be nice to not care how bad a project is, and to ignore the terrible code other people are writing. Unfortunately, passion is not just a switch you can turn on or off whenever you want.