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Don't Be Too Passionate About Your Work

Of course, she then offered me a six-month process, costing thousands of dollars to get me back on track. However, I must say she was ethical in her approach and suggested I get a medical check up to rule out any physical or mental-health issues.

I agreed and decided to go for the best and reserved a week at the Mayo clinic. I signed up for the concierge service that included all of the latest, cutting-edge medical studies - even genetic-code analysis. For a week, I was probed, hypnotized, acupunctured, MRI'd by the top scientists in the world. On the final day, I sat in the office of the Chief of Medicine awaiting the news.

The doctor was direct, "Hesh we have found a genetic flaw in your chromosome makeup. I am sorry to say but you lack the correct DNA to have a fully functionally passion gene." He pushed the box of Kleenex across the desk expecting me to burst out and become teary eyed. Instead, I laughed.

"Doc, for the first time in my life, I did not have to question why I am different," I said with excitement. "I've lived my life with constant anxiety and guilt, never understanding why I was different than all my fellow business-school graduates (Harvard class of '84). I had the grades to get in, but I was never as successful as my classmates."

I finally understood why; it had nothing to do with an unwillingness to take risks. No, I lacked passion for anything and everything, because of a genetic fluke. I asked the doctor if, with the many millions of dollars invested in identifying the human genome, I could expect a cure in my lifetime?

"Sorry Hesh," He said apologetically, "Compared to all of the life-threatening genetic illnesses of the world, extensive research into your disease is just not going to be a priority." And then he hit me with a question that he thought would put an end to the discussion, "Hesh can you honestly disagree?"

"Yes, I can," I shouted. "If you could help people like me, we could then change the world for the better. It would take only decades rather than a millennium."

The doctor convinced me to return to my room. I had the concierge arrange for a massage, and I had a few imported beers while I waited. As I relaxed, I realized that I had not considered all the ramifications of a cure for being passionlessness.

Imagine a world run amok with people of passion. It would be hard to sit next to anyone on an airplane. Now, you can expect some quiet, if you stare out the window. The person next to you usually gets the hint and does not engage you in conversation. But with a world of passionate people, we would not be able to hide as we were harangued about the latest and greatest business since Amway.

In retrospect, I have come to realize that the world may have just the right amount of passionate people. We don't want to play with the cosmos. We could end up like the Chinese that tried to enforce one child per family, but never realized that most families would want only males. Now 30 years later, they have a lot of lonely single guys in bars in Beijing.

The same could happen with the passion gene. We would have a world full of very passionate people. And we all know that there is an inverse correlation between being passionate and being able to laugh at oneself. We would all be so serious about our goals and dreams that I would be out of a job as a humor columnist.

Hesh Reinfeld writes a syndicated business humor column. You can read additional examples of his columns on his website: Or contact him at

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