08/13/2012 04:56 pm ET Updated Oct 13, 2012

For Passion or Paycheck? Ask Noah

Q: It pains me to say that I may be bad at my job. Alas, it appears I'm not good enough. I know my superiors are looking to me for more financial wins. Apparently, they're saying I'm quick and smart, I just lack the passion to close on deals. I know I am an intelligent guy, but these rumors are really getting me down and making me question myself. What do you think they mean?

A: Well, as I don't know the players, I won't pretend to be a mind reader.

Let me ask you a question.

Do you actually like what you do?

Don't be afraid to say no -- many people don't actually like their work or feel the passion!

I've put this reality test in front of you because success in any highly-competitive field requires passion. The bosses don't want to see a young guy or gal getting by on his/her brains. They want to see and WITNESS your blood, sweat and tears.

Why? It validates them and what they've put their energies into. As they watch others toil, they feel vindicated for all the time they've spent paying their "dues" to the workplace.

It is hard to fake this. It is easy to see who lives for work or who works to live.

Below is a quick "litmus test" for you to measure your job passions:

Stop wasting your time defining the word passion. You know what it means! They don't think you care enough. Perhaps they're not "seeing" your efforts. When they can't witness these efforts time and again, they can't witness an obvious "financial win."

You say you are an "intelligent guy." Does an intelligent guy waste his time discussing obvious answers?

Begin answering the tougher questions for yourself: When you head to work in the morning, do you feel you're doing something that challenges, excites and motivates you? If you've answered NO to the above question, figure out if and why their rumors matter to you.
Some people do not need to be fiercely passionate about their job. They are content on doing their best work and putting their passions into family, friends, and outside interests. Perhaps this is you.

Perhaps finding a coach, counselor, or trusted adviser to help you find a profession you can devote more of your intelligence and passions to is more up your alley.

It is essential to take a personal inventory of your own before you start analyzing other's conclusions of you. Please take some time to do this. I promise it will be worthwhile.

Thanks for the great question. Please send all questions and comments to ASK NOAH at

Have a profitable and peaceful week,


This post originally appeared on Aug. 8, 2012.

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