I disagree with that.
With your definition of “passion”, and with the advice itself. I think it’s important that your studies and your job are something you like to do, and that do not feel like chores. Wether you make your whole life revolving around it is your choice to make, but I’m old school, I consider variety equals sanity ;)
I have many interests and friends, and only so much time. I am very glad I get to spend my working hours doing something I love, I think I’m even becoming pretty good at it, but work is work and life is… well, life. At the end of the day, I like to let my head rest and focus on other things to have variety.
As to wether I’m passionate about it, well – according to your definition – surely not; I do not have pet projects and I will never ever spend my night on anything that is not an absolute emergency (or astronomy, obviously). That does not mean I’m a sad person at work, or that I’m not all that interested in what I do. I just have varied occupations.
I’ll conclude by highlighting the fact that many companies – at least in France – avoid hiring newbies who make it seem that programming is their only life, because they have a reputation of not fitting in with the team very well (heck, we ourselves have an intern who only ever speaks about his pet programs and a single video game, and boy is it a hassle). This might or might not be related, this talk just made me think about it.
I agree with you rather than Perry. If I'm "not passionate" because I have a relationship and friends and spend time with my coworkers completely divorced from work, then so be it. But I (and those I work with) believe that code should fit into your life, not be your life. Pet projects and after-hours work are great, but they aren't the sole determinant of passion.
I will put it this way: We respect doctors for the work they do. It's highly specialized and takes a long time to learn to do well. Is a doctor less passionate about their field if they leave the hospital and go to dinner and a movie with their spouse? Or to the gym? Or should every waking moment be focused on their job, reading and doing research in their spare time?
A big reason we want doctors to have lives and get sleep is so they don't make mistakes out of fatigue or burnout. Considering developers write the code that runs healthcare systems, banks and websites that individual businesses depend on, does it not make sense to subscribe to the same beliefs with us?
We can keep developers passionate about the field by NOT demanding they be consumed by it. Plus, if all someone can ever bring to the table is coding X, they'll never be able to relate to the people they're writing the code for (and by extension the projects themselves).
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