The Curse Of Passion

Ryan Sonnek bio photo By Ryan Sonnek

For the most part, passion_is 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 Real_book by 37signals and throwing it right out the window. Meeting after meeting, with no end in sight. No clear definition or _vision_of what we’re trying to attain. Constant speculation about what the user _wants_instead 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.