After about 30 years in corporate and issue communications consulting, I've just learned that I may have gone into the wrong business. A couple of weeks ago, the firm I work for held a strategic planning session in which the very able facilitator asked us to describe what we were deeply passionate about in a professional sense.
Here's what I wrote down:
I am deeply passionate about the creation - or revelation - of transformational ideas.
By and large my colleagues expressed their passion in terms like 'making a meaningful difference',' being part of an effective team', 'working to solve client challenges' . . . all important even noble aspirations and particularly suited to the role of consultant.
My one-liner speaks of a different prime mover. Not that I don't get satisfaction from any of the things which motivate my colleagues. But we were asked about "passion" and it is the sweep of ideas that make an appreciable change in principles, that re-shape the way we see the world, that turns my crank.
It sounds embarrassingly elitist to say so I know, but I was probably meant to be an academic, not a pedant or dreary don I would hope, but someone who spends his days talking about, evaluating and debating ideas. Historian Tony Judt in The Memory Chalet, his last book before succumbing to ALS, thinks of it as the "seductive appeal of French intellectuality."
I love Paris: Can I have a do-over?