Told I’m not passionate enough about my job in my free time?

 Hello all,

Would just like your thoughts/advice. A month ago I accepted a position I was very interested in in a niche field (media, more specifically animation) despite not watching very many cartoons in my free time. It’s a very well-known studio with many titles but I won’t go into too many details.

Long story short, it was made very clear that I knew very little about the series or titles during my many interviews leading up to the job and that it would be expected that I would catch up quickly once I started, which I have been doing by watching about an hour and a half a night after work (which to be honest, I found exhausting but knew I had to do it in order to do my job well).

I had my one-month evaluation yesterday and my manager dropped a bomb on me- they told me that I didn’t seem passionate enough about the titles because I hadn’t advanced far enough in my viewing (despite never being given specifics in terms of how much I should have seen by what date) and that I seemed to be treating it as “homework” and not a passion. When I asked what lead them to believe this, they said it was just a “feeling.” (To be honest, no, they’re not totally wrong, but I also found it hard to find a point to improve on when given almost zero feedback like this)

They told me on the practical side of things that they didn’t have many complaints and that besides my slightly slower pace in completing tasks compared to my colleagues I was doing fine. However, according to them, since this is a niche field, the boundary between a personal and professional life becomes “blurry” because one must constantly be watching the new episodes and thinking about the shows in their off time. I asked if they were asking me to simply watch at a faster pace- they kept insisting it was more fundamental and that my heart just didn’t seem in it.

What’s strange is that I actually really enjoy the job- and thought I was making good progress. They told me to take this weekend to think about their comments and let them know if I want to make more of a commitment to this job by essentially sacrificing my weekends and private life to keep up on their shows. I’m willing to an extent, but the salary is not that high and I feel unappreciated suddenly and insecure. When I asked if my commitment would guarantee that I could continue working next week, they told me they STILL might let me go based on this ‘feeling’ they have.

The whole thing just feels icky to me. I gave 110% this last month and I feel unappreciated but some of my friends are telling me just say whatever I can to have some income and look for something else. Others are telling me to come in and say thanks no thanks because they’re discounting my actual work and judging how I spend my free time after work and on weekends based on a ‘feeling.’

I know only I can answer this for myself, but just wanted another opinion.


It's definitely going to be a less professional environment because it's art. Studios and creative fields often pay less and don't treat lower-level people great because of the "passion" factor.

They know there are tons of people who like art/cartoons/videogames/etc. and therefore want people with that mindset so they don't have to compete on salary/benefits/time off.

It's a toxic part of a lot of industries. Even tech/coding has this problem at times, though coders tend to be pretty well compensated.

They don't want to hire you as a worker they want to hire you as an obsessed fan who happens to work there. You also have a normal work/life balance upsets what they're trying to do because if you can "get away with it" then so can others.

If you like the work then I suggest pivoting to a more commercially driven part of the field and a less creative area. Advertising and marketing have art departments but they won't demand you watch 900 ads every weekend because at some level they know we're all in it for the money.

I'm sorry you were treated this way. You deserve better. I can't stand when people abuse their power over others to this extent.

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