I’ll be blogging every day this week in a special 5-part series titled “Your Best Job Now.” The idea is for us as leaders to examine our jobs, where we’ve been and where we’re heading, so we can survive and thrive in our best occupational callings.
Today’s topic: What you learn from where you’ve been.
There’s gold in them there hills, but if you’re not working at a job you love, it can be difficult to see the bright flecks in the bottom of your pan.
You might be elbow deep in soap suds while washing dishes, or making tiny check marks in a room full of cubicles.
Whatever your position of employment, if what you’re doing is not your dream job, then you’ll be wondering if better times are ahead.
Here’s one action step that can provide perspective and direction.
Find someone you know who’s working in a job he enjoys. Invite him out to coffee. Get him to list all the jobs he’s ever had. Then ask him how his previous jobs prepared him for the position he’s in today.
You’re bound to hear some great stories and receive some great encouragement.
For instance, here’s a quick look at my job history:
· As a kid I mowed lawns.
· Throughout high school I had a paper route.
· In college I worked construction and was a janitor.
· Several summers I worked at camp.
· I did two internships after college.
· Throughout grad school I waited tables.
· My first career job was youth director at a church.
· I switched careers and became a newspaper reporter. To help make ends meet, I freelanced as a book editor. Book work gradually encompassed my newspaper job.
· In 2005 I made the jump to full-time book writer and started my own editorial company. My occupation today is author-editor, and I love it.
No matter who you ask about his job history, here are 3 patterns you’re bound to see:
1. THE PROCESS IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE DESTINATION
By the time you finally do what you want to do, you’ve done a lot of other things along the way. Relax, work hard, learn all you can, and be patient. Being a waiter was never my dream job, but I learned tons there about working with people. I’m a more effective writer today because I once worked in restaurants.
2. THE LONG LINE IS INEVITABLE
Dues need to be paid. On the road to your dream job, there’s a long line of getting your education or training, figuring things out, doing stuff that’s less than you hoped, getting paid less than what you think you deserve, making contacts, and learning and re-learning your industry’s ropes—all the stuff that goes into creating a career.
3. THERE ARE BRIGHT SPOTS ALONG THE WAY
No matter what your job is, even if you hate it, chances are good that you’ll get to do a few cool things there, things you might not been able to dream up had you not had the position. As a reporter, I met all kinds of colorful people. When I was a youth director, I lived a high-octane life full of skiing, laser tag, rock climbing, and international service trips. When I was a waiter, I once toured the inner workings of a funeral home, (a long, zany story I’ll tell you about some other time).
No matter what your prior jobs are, they have helped you become who you are today. What’s on your list? When you look over all the jobs you’ve done, you’re bound to find gold.
The question to ask is what can you learn from where you’ve been, and how will this affect where you head next?
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Read the rest of this series:
Part 5: Know the Crow Code
Question: What’s one job you had in your past, and how did it help you become who you are today?