Tag Archives: career

The results are in…

After months of searching (years in total really) I’ve finally figured out my problem with finding my passion. If you don’t know me then I’ll just say that I’ve struggled with finding myself for a long time now. I’ve taken a bunch of different personality and career matching tests with pretty much the same kind of results. I’m Introverted until I get to know you better. I am a good problem solver and leader (with compatible types as my subordinates); though I will never ‘choose’ to be a leader. It’s usually chosen for me by management. I enjoy challenges deep thought and tend to stay extremely focused on the challenge until it is complete.

But that’s where the results stop. What the tests don’t go into is the fact that once the challenge is complete and I feel that I’ve learned a lot about the given subject I get bored with it and want to move on. Looking at my job history I can see a pattern. I typically work really hard on some tough problems at most places before I start to get bored with it. And I mean really bored; like physically ill bored (and depressed afterward). I’ve been living my professional life for the past ten years just thinking that something was wrong with the jobs I was working; or even worse something was wrong with ME.

While watching a bunch of TED videos on Youtube.com I started writing a list of the things that I want to do; my passions if you will. Most speakers kept trying to encourage listeners to find THAT THING that would make them jump out of bed in the morning. I looked at my list and found that not a single one made me feel that way. I’m just not that passionate about anything. “Great!” I though. Not only do I not like what I do, but there is nothing that I’d like to make a new profession either. So what does a geek do when faced with a problem like this?

I googled. I searched “I have no passions…” in Google and came up with surprisingly less results than I thought that it would. One site stuck out in the results and I finally decided to follow one of the links: http://puttylike.com/terminology/

It was there that I discovered what I truly am. I am a Multipotentialite; aka Slasher; aka Scanner; aka Polymath. Basically…

A modern day Renaissance  Man. I have multiple things that I want to learn about, but not necessarily become a master in any of them. I don’t want to devote my life to becoming a specialist in something; I want to devote my life to learning about anything that interests me.

Emilie Wapnick is the creator of Puttylike and has brought together a community of non-specialists as well as written a ton of useful information. After reading a good bit of the site I decided to change my thought process. I tossed my list of ‘passions’ and started a list of what I’d like to learn more about:

– Photography
– Computer Programming
– Linux Operating System
– Wood Furniture Making
– Landscape Engineering
– Creative Writing
– Guitar (Learn to Play)
– Automotive Maintenance & Upgrading
– Plant & Tree Identification (I was never a boy scout)
– Physical Fitness (Explosive Power Specifically)
– Healthy Cooking (and not so healthy baking)
– Home Alcohol Production (Still want to make the drink of my ancestors; mead)
– Graphic Design

I fully expect this list to continue to grow, but for now this will do. The next step is to train myself that (job growth + job skills != happiness). The real equation I need to solve is (x + x.skill obtained == happiness). If you don’t algebra just know that ‘x’ represents the items in the list above.

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What Color is My Parachute

I don’t really know yet. I do however, plan to find out.

http://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Your-Parachute-2013/dp/1607741474

What Color is Your Parachute is a book designed to help people find out what they really enjoy, and how to couple that with a career. This is a topic that I have been trying to figure out for a long time now. The problem is that as soon as I think I have a good lock on what type of career I would enjoy I tend to lose focus.

I hope this helps…

Sacrifice Yourself

I can’t help the rush I get whenever I read “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Charge_of_the_Light_Brigade_(poem)

Sometimes you know that you are outnumbered in a situation, and you are in the situation by no fault of your own. Surrounded on all sides by those that want you to fail. We’ve all been there at least once. So what do you do in the face of almost uncertain victory? Do you back down to allow the greater numbers to move in? Do you stand strong and attempt to hold off the onslaught until assistance comes (if it is coming)? Or do you recognize your fate, and decide to charge the opposition anyway?

It’s time to go down swinging. It’s time to charge those against me. And maybe, just maybe; my honorable actions will bestow respect for me among those that stand against my charge. Maybe they will move aside and not make me fight them. If I’m lucky; maybe the will join me on my charge.

From now on it’s no holds barred. I have wants for my family and myself. It’s time to take this career seriously.

Singletasking

A lot of people list multitasking as a skill that they posses. The professional world makes it almost necessary to work on multiple priorities at once. My thought on the value of this “skill” differs than my peers.

I believe that you can only effectively work on ONE task at a time…

Think of it this way. Let’s say that you can measure the focus of a person with a pitcher of water. In front of them is a row of empty glasses. Each glass has a fill line to represent task completion. The glasses are grouped by their collective project, and a small space is left between each grouping to signify a project focus switch (ie. “changing gears”). Once the pitcher is turned and water begins to pour it cannot be tilted back to stop the flow of water (you only have a certain amount of time in a day). Once the pitcher is empty the day is over and another pitcher will be given for the next day.

Singletasking vs Multitasking; let’s get it on!

The single task worker pours in the liquid to one glass at a time; making sure to hit the fill line before move to the next task. The next task is then completed and the pitcher is moved over the next task. This continues until the group of glasses in the “project” are filled. Keep in mind that no water has been spilled outside of a glass yet because of their groupings. This may have taken several pitchers of water depending on the glass sizes (“task timelines”). However, the only water that is spilled on the tabled is when the pitcher is moved to the next project. This spilled water is measured over the course of all of the projects and it is found that it can fill half of a water pitcher; or half of a day.

The multitask worker pours the liquid while continuously moving the pitcher around to different tasks and projects. Water is spilling onto the table during focus shifts. In the end it takes more water (“more time”) to fill all of the glasses due to the amount spilled (“focus changes”). The spilled water is measured and found that it can fill multiple pitchers; or multiple days of lost productivity!

Something to remember is that it is not always the fault of the person doing the pouring; sometimes it is the employer forcing the employees hand to move around and waste the productivity. This will have multiple consequences for the employee including; lower-moral, loss of sense of control, higher stress, loss of connection with work, etc.

So you think that you are one of the 2% that can multitask without spilling any water? Check out this link: http://mashable.com/2012/08/13/multitasking-infographic/

Money Problems

“It’s like the more money we come across, the more problems we see.” – Biggie Smalls

It is believed by many that more money creates more problems. Yet almost all of us chase it down like there is no tomorrow. We overwork and neglect other priorities to make that extra bit in the next paycheck. Those of us that work salary are doomed to not know if more money will be made until the next performance review or surprise bonus check. A lot of the time the extra money doesn’t show up…

And then we begin to resent our current situation. So much hard work was put in to make that extra money and no reward is given. Our minds tend to “fill in the gaps” during these situations.

“This company doesn’t understand the work I do here.”
“My boss could care less about me our my team.”
“I can’t wait to see the look on his/her face when I quit this place.”

You may be thinking that I say, “well then quit! Take your skills and start your own business. Follow your passion and you will be happy!”

Well, that’s not what I am going to say at all. Quitting my job and following my passion would be great and all, but it just isn’t possible. Currently I simply CANNOT make the same kind of income with any of my passions. Could I develop a passion into a business that makes as much or more than I do at my current job? Sure; after many years of building and skills refining.

I (and most people) don’t have time for that.

So what can be done then? Should I just give up on my dream/passion and continue to work at a job that doesn’t understand me or what I do? My answer… Yes and No. Give up on your passion development (temporarily) and work on a few things at the office.

1) Realize that the company does not exist to keep you employed and/or happy. The company exists to make money. It’s as simple as that. Regardless of what is EVER said in any meeting in the end of it all the board DOES NOT CARE about you. They may even believe that they care, until something is done to mess with profits. Then the responsible party is in trouble. Big trouble.

2) Stop putting in extra effort where it isn’t needed. I am a strong believer in ENERGY management instead of TIME management. If working on a project for 2 extra hours is going to zap your remaining energy and only “get you ahead” slightly don’t do it. Go home. Enjoy time with family. Or spend those 2 hours on a hobby. You will enjoy those 2 hours versus the other option.

3) Find a way to enjoy the things that bother you about your current situation. For instance, I drive about an hour each way for work. I use this time as a release with inspirational music or podcasts.

I believe that money isn’t the problem. More money does not create more problems, but what it takes to make more money usually does create problems.

SO STOP WORKING SO HARD!

Ready to Change

I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about what I want to accomplish in life. The normal ups and downs that I seem to experience annually have continued, but this time there is something different going on. This year I have felt more anxious, and a deeper drive to make some real changes. In the past internal motivation has never been enough for me to accomplish the things that I have wanted. So I have decided to put everything out here. I am attempting to develop some good habits in the next few months. One of them is to write daily; even if it it just for 5 minutes at first. Whatever is on my mind at the time will end up on this digital notebook provided for free from WordPress.com.

The most important thing that I want to accomplish is a good relationship with my family. My wife and I have two children; both of which are on the Autism spectrum. I am grateful of our daughter’s ability to speak. Even if a lot of her speech is Echolalic. Our son is non-verbal and has his own methods of communication; some of which my wife and I are still trying to figure out. I can only image what kind of perceptions my children have of the world while undergoing the stresses of their disability. I want to be able to help them live up to the potential that I know they have. At the same time I want my wife to be able to live the life that she wants. She sacrifices so much to support the additional needs of our children and I want her to be able to live her life for herself without having to carry the full support of their needs.

I don’t have much of a relationship with my extended family anymore. This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to have one. We are geographically spread about the country and it makes it tough to stay in contact. I really do miss all of them. My mother was the main contact point between myself and her family. After her passing in 2005 I didn’t really keep in touch with them like I should have. My post high school life was just beginning and I was busy with what I thought was important at the time. My cousin recently got married last month and I was given the opportunity to see many people that I haven’t seen in over twenty years! I realized how disconnected I was when I began experiencing discomfort being around them. It’s hard to explain; I was happy to be there and to see them, but I was just not accustomed to being around such a large close-knit family. It also made me realize how much time I’ve lost with my father’s side of the family.

Another topic that I want to tackle in my life, and this time for good, is my health. I have been generally slightly unhealthy for a majority of my life. My healthiest state of being was when I was an enlisted soldier in basic combat training for the United States Army. I want to get back to that state of health. I will do so slowly by eating better and exercising. My problem in the past has been that I have created an intricate plan, and failed to follow it because I would miss some step and think, “what’s the point now? The whole plan is ruined!” This leads me into the final change that I am making…

I am going to live my life without goals. After reading the following post: http://zenhabits.net/goal-less/
I realized that my problem with doing the things in life that I want to do is that I have spent too much time meticulously planning every step of the way. I have attempted to use project planning skills to execute life events. This is not possible. My motivation tends to die quickly when things don’t go the way that I have planned. The only way I see to kill this problem is to refuse to create goals. I still have things that I want to accomplish, but I will do so by following the same four principals that the author of Zen Habits explained in the post that I linked to above.

I can’t wait to see what today has in store for my family and me.