Take charge of your life, please!
I’ve just watched a Reuters slide show of people looking for work in the States, China and Japan. Sometimes we have to look for work!
But to do it without having a larger plan is the most frightening and desperate thing we can ever do.
It is a mistake to define our life by the opportunities created by other people. It would depress me. It would depress anyone. It will depress you. It is such a bad idea.
Finding a job is like traveling abroad
A young friend of mine described choosing a career direction as being in a foreign country and asking people for directions.
Have you ever noticed that the locals in a foreign country don’t know where anything is? It’s not surprising really. They go to the same places every day. They don’t know what is useful to a visitor or newcomer.
My young friend has made the gustiest decision he will ever have to make. He has decided not to rush it. He’s continuing with his student job while he works out what he really wants to do.
What I’ve suggested to him is that he pretends he is an adventurer in an uncharted place and draw the map as he goes. So to extend the metaphor, when he sees a mountain, put it down roughly. When he sees a lake, add that to his picture. And so on.
He’s contributed a pretty nifty metaphor that completes the other three I wrote about this week. This is how they work together.
1 Define your core value (five minutes)
- Scan a list of flowers and their symbolic meaning to capture your sense of the value you deliver.
- I found btw that I want a red carnation for me (meaning I carry a torch for you) and lunaria for my company (meaning prosperity). I don’t mean I just want my company to be prosperous. I want that, of course. I mean that the job of my company is to deliver prosperity to other people.
- Which flower captures the value you deliver?
2 Resolve to do well by doing good (relax)
- Be like my neighborhood restaurant in Olney. Do what you think is right and do it for free.
- Don’t be so focused that you only think of getting a job or how much money you can make out of other people.
- Let people help you. And you will find that people do.
- People want to applaud you success. Let them have have the pleasure!
3 Each day find 1 signpost and 1 person who is closer to where you want to be than you are now
(1 hour searching and 10 minutes recording)
- Do a daily exercise finding a website representing activities that take you one step further and make contact with one more person who is closer to where you want to go than you are now.
- Do this daily, and don’t break the chain! Then add a rough diary of what you did during the day and WHY IT WENT SO WELL!
- You’ll have 30 websites and people at the end of the month. In month 2, each day also discard a website and person each as you find another pair. (Or put them in another box.)
- In this way, you’ll edge towards the place you want to be.
- I don’t know how long it will take, but you’ll be surprised at how fast it goes. My guess is 3 months. You tell me when you’ve tried.
4 Draw your map (7 minutes)
- And each day add to your map.
- What is the landscape of your field and its future as you see it?
- Keep adding features as you go.
- And whatever you do, don’t try too hard. Your map might mutate into a map of the underground or something like that. Just don’t jump to defining answers. Doodle! We want your creative juices flowing freely.
Who should do this?
The recession is so severe, everyone should be doing this. If you are in a good place right now and it looks secure, then sure, do it intermittently. Jot down websites and people intermittently and review the box once a month.
For everyone else, I would say this exercise has fairly high priority. The bankers say they didn’t know what they were doing. The government says it is uncharted waters – meaning, they have no map.
We are all in a strange place asking the locals for directions. Best to start drawing the map!
And don’t aim to come out with a job that is defined by others. Define your own future. Let other people stand in your queue!
Is this possible?
Of course it is. How do jobs get made? They get made by people like me and you. But you know, they followed their dreams.
Will we always be an employer? No. Sometimes we will choose to work for others because hitching a ride on their wagon, so to speak, makes sense.
But we don’t want to feel desperate. If that is what you feel. Do this exercise. You will feel better very rapidly, I promise.
If you are not feeling desperate, begin now and gather around you the people you need on your journey. They will be grateful. They want company too.
Talk to me!
And let me know how you get on. I like company too.
Thanks to my young friend who helped me finish this series. I appreciate his help – again. Actually we are friends, despite the difference in our years, because he has helped me before. As now, he didn’t set out to do anything in particular. But he added value to my life.
That’s how it works, isn’t it? We journey part of the way with other people and we help carve out a future together that we believe is worth having.