career path and a slippery slope

Possibly a misleading title for this article. However, I imagined the interview question over and over again… I continued to replay it in my mind and each time it felt like skiing down a cliff but instead of land ahead – the bottom fell out and well, you can imagine the rest.

I once interviewed for a supervisory job at a competitor. I was still a new supervisor at the time and wanted (desperately) to move to Wisconsin. There were a lot of non-professional reasons and my haste was probably unprecedented. I was only 24 at the time, so I was not mentally mature. By stating that, I am not saying at 24 you are or are not as a general statement. I am indicating that my mindset had a bias and I had convinced myself that an illogical solution was the best for my family (and me).

During an interview I was asked a question that I had never been asked before. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I cannot remember my exact answer but it was along the lines of a writer, or screenplay writer. Very true, and to this day it is still a dream of mine. However, not the place and time for that response. Granted – I was being very honest. A little too honest. Sort of like when someone asks “how are you doing?” not expecting you to divulge your life’s trials and tribulations. Anyway, back to the short story… We proceeded through the interview with a variety of traditional questions until the very end. The last question brought the interview back around (full circle) to the dream question… so “How is being a production supervisor going to get you closer to your dream?” Ouch… And the bombshell dropped. There was no correlation that was going to happen where my answer would make sense.

I tell you this for a couple reasons. Yes, I was a boneheaded, naive, and untalented interviewer at one point. Secondly, and more importantly, it has taken me several years to realize the importance of the question. What is it that you want to do – and how is it that your current activities will guide you in that or to that process? There will be times within a career where lateral and roles outside of your main focus may need to be taken to gain skills that broaden your abilities for later roles. Also, if you desire to help humanity and make a difference in the work – does the work you perform help you towards that goal? Is the desire something that can be facilitated via a side project, organization or hobby? Should one’s passions be the pursuit of the perfect career?

There are so many questions that you may have to pause and reflect within yourself. The idea behind this article is to begin with the end in mind. (One of my favorite Covey concepts.) What is it that you want to do, what skills have you have been blessed with and wish to share? Each step in your career should be logically thought out and planned so that each step on the path takes you somewhere. Maybe you do not wish to climb the corporate ladder – but I would guess that you would want to learn, be value added, and contribute. Each step that you take can guide you in that direction.

#post- .CPlase_panel display:none;

begin with the end in mind, career, Covey, dreams, interview, planning, Short story
Business: General, Uncategorized
#BeginWithTheEndInMind, #Career, #Covey, #Dreams, #Interview, #Planning, #ShortStory



Filed under Business: General, Uncategorized

2 responses to “career path and a slippery slope

  1. Well said. But half of our careers are spent in understanding what we want and what we are really good at!

  2. Yes, and much of my experiences also lead me to know what I DO NOT want vs. do. Yet, I have spent much more time understanding the flow, pattern, likes and dislikes compared to what I used to. I also have started focus on the “me” in conjunction with the “them.”

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