Passion is a bullet train, speeding down a track that you think you know all too well. Your train is well supplied, brimming with the resources and technology needed to keep it going at full speed. The path is seemingly predictable, as passion doesn’t deviate from its target, so too does a train not derail from its track.
However, what your train never sees coming, whether because of its velocity or its inherent belief that it can’t be stopped, is the one thing that will always stop it. For a train, that one thing can be any number of problems or objects, from a mechanical failure to a collision. Similarly, the derailment of passion can be caused by any number of problems, but they all result in the same endings: disappointment, pain, and disorientation.
My train was derailed last Friday, when I resigned from an organization that I had stuck by for 3 years. Resigning from any position with that type of tenure is difficult, but resigning from a position that was fueled by passion and love for the organization is even worse. My derailment began with not being promoted within the organization, despite my passion and its physical embodiments. Tenure seemed not to matter, nor hard work; being the first one to arrive and the last one to leave meant nothing in this environment. My plans and ideas, putting pen to paper to express what my passion meant, carried no weight. My references and what others could say about the quality of my work, my determination, and my accomplishments had no impact. In essence, my derailment was laid out ahead of me, and despite my best preparations, there was no way to avoid the conclusion.
Now of course there were mistakes of my own. Did I throw too much coal in the engine? At times, yes, and I let my intensity get the better of me. Were my dreams of what the destination looked like too grandiose? Perhaps, and so my ideas may have been perceived as unattainable or unrealistic. And while I recognize these shortcomings, I do not credit them solely with my downfall; rather I see them as just a little rust on the wheels, issues I didn’t see until after the crash.
Maybe more importantly, the derailment occurred because the track was broken from the beginning. Having been with the organization since freshmen year and visualizing the destination, I could never have foreseen the problems and issues that would occur years down the line. By the time I realized the problems were there, it was too late to divert the train. My fate had been sealed.
So what’s the lesson here? To speed down the tracks slower or maybe get a different mode of transportation? I don’t believe that will solve the problem. In fact, I truly believe that passionate people get the most done when they are speeding down their defined track. When everything is working as it should, they are able to cruise along and meet every deliverable, create fresh ideas, and add value at every twist and turn. Some people will get hurt, as I have, and it will take time to redirect my passion into something else. At this point, that’s all I can do; I can’t afford to just lay by the side of the track.
All in all, I don’t regret having spent the time that I did with this organization. I know it’s in good hands with a leader who shares my vision and will be around long after I’m gone. I have many other opportunities to pour my heart and soul into. I keep the company of great friends from that organization. However, I will not forgive nor forget what those at the top did to put me in this situation. In addition, I can’t say that I will be at the same level of happiness working on anything else, not for a long time anyways. And despite my best intentions, I don’t know if my new “bullet train of passion” will ever be as fast or as sleek running on a different track. I just don’t know, at least not until I reach my destination.