Last week I had to install a new dishwasher. Old one decided to short out during a rinse cycle. Really cool when it happened. Shot a flame out the bottom and smoked up the kitchen. Anyway, I’m no HGTV aficionado, but I figured saving $100 was worth it to do it myself. Should have spent the money! It took me two nights, lots of cussing, a few random cuts, and one sideways comment. It’s really not that difficult to do. Hook up the drain, hook up the water supply, wire it up (the wire colors match!), slide it all into place, turn on the water, turn on the electricity. In the words of Jeremy Clarkson, what could possibly go wrong?
The fact is, I have no desire to be good at home improvement. Installing appliances, laying a new floor, replacing my toilet. I’d rather pay someone. It was with this in mind that I watched our new Career Coaches struggle through their first graduation certification last week. As you know, we hired professionals with recruiting and HR experience to work in our new office. They have skills, talents, and experience that will help us turn the Office of Professional Development into a model for other college advising operations. They are naturally communicative, have a sense of urgency, and great customer service skills. What they are not, are auditors.
A good auditor not only knows the proper “Technique,” but has certain “Talents” that make them happy being an auditor (remember my earlier reference to James Lipton’s quote?) I understand how the dishwasher is to be installed just like our Career Coaches understand how to cross reference degree audits and catalog requirements. But if you are going cross-eyed, forgetting your place, or simply procrastinating because this isn’t something that arouses a passion in you or gives you comfort because you do it well, then…well, you’ll suck! Or at least be mediocre.
I want to change the career dialogue. Too often we focus career decisions on a job title rather than a set of actions. To find out where your Talents and Technique intersect you need to discover what you want to DO, not what you want to BE. There you will find something that arouses your passions. You’ll enjoy doing it. Partly because you’ll be interested in it and want to do it well, but mostly because it will give you satisfaction to do it. We’ll explore the concept further, but for now, think about these three questions:
What do you LIKE to Do?
Think about projects, assignments, and work that you’ve done. What was cool and what was a chore? Don’t focus on playtime (the world can only support so many Cheetos taste-testers…) Think about real tasks, things that people do for a living. Write these things down. Keep a list on your phone for two weeks. Every time you do something that you enjoyed, jot it down.
What are you ABLE to Do?
This one takes more self-awareness. Be brutally honest with yourself. What do you really know? Did you do better on the “verbal” or “logic” part of your test? Conversely, you’ll also have to push yourself. How far can you take what you know before you get to where you don’t know. You can change a tire. Good. You can change your oil. Awesome. You can clean dirty fuel injectors. WOW! You can’t reprogram a faulty oxygen sensor…. Cool, now you know where to start.
What are people doing WHERE you are?
Finally, it’s great that you’ve discovered that you are highly competitive and really like caring for animals. And even better that you figured out that you can push yourself physically in extreme conditions. But living in Orlando, you just can’t train for the Iditarod. Just not much dog sledding going on around here. But maybe you can move a little north of here and find your passion in Ocala training race horses. Life is both a metaphorical AND literal journey. You have to end up living somewhere and that place will play a huge role in what you are doing. Do you eventually want to trade stocks or manage a hedge fund? Well, Oviedo really isn’t the place for that. You’ll either need to move, or find related activity where you are.
This turned out a whole lot better than I thought. I was originally just complaining about that damn dishwasher….