How passionate is your company about you?

There are a lot of great things I can say about the two jobs I've held so far.  I've worked with really smart people.  I've been compensated fairly.  They've been flexible about my need to leave a little early once a week for the occasional early softball game.

But the most rewarding aspect of my job has been that my employers have been sincerely interested in my own growth and personal development.  We've been able to maintain an open dialogue about what I was interested in doing, the skills they thought I needed to develop, and the balance between those things and the job at hand.  They've also treated my ideas with respect and allowed me to maintain a relatively public presence. 

Salary and benefits are always nice, but not feeling like your company is trying to hide you and keep you chained in the basement like some bastard stepchild...well that's pretty irreplaceable.  I can't tell you how many stories I've heard of my friends who do all the work for the client, but don't get to go to the client dinners, because that's a "partner thing".  Another great example is the PR person who writes his company's blog under his CEO's name, but isn't  allowed to post on his own and create a name for himself, or respond to any comments.

That kind of treatment creates a bad relationship with your employee.  It signals a lack of confidence.  Its the kind of thing that causes people to leave without warning, because you've built up this underlying resentment growing within your firm.

So put yourself in every last employees shoes if you run a company and ask yourself if you would feel like your company was passionate about you.  If not, is that because you don't believe in them or is it because you've been asking for passion from them for your company but not returning it.

Passion is definitely a two way street...otherwise is just kind of an unhealthy obsession.