What does the work I enjoy have in common?
Throughout my career, most of my jobs have had an element of strategy to them. Whether it has been helping to chart the future course of the organization, a department within it or the people it serves, I've often found myself working with others on what the future looks like and who we they are (or should be) focusing on. This also seems to ring true as I reflect back on many of the causes I have volunteered my time for, often having been been asked to help out with or have steered myself towards these roles within the organization.
What has felt a bit frustrating at times to me is my own strategy or path has felt obscured. Despite alluding to a path, I'm not looking for, no want all the answers. I think a set path would be boring. But I have often felt like a "north star" has been lacking. Is there a common thread or initiative that piques my interest? A couple months back, I was out for coffee with my mentor and he told me about the unifying principle he'd identified thus far around his career. "I received my formal education in architecture and my current role focuses on making sure we have the right people and resources in place for the company to be successful. What I've identified as the link between my education, this job and almost every other one I've held is, 'I like to build things'. Whether its a physical structure or a team, I enjoy planning and assembling the necessary parts for it to work." Whether that statement is profound or not, I don't know. What I can say is that it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was clearly a common thread but one I might have missed looking at his work history from the outside.
I've found myself with anxiety at times about what industry I might want to focus on or stage of company but his comments gave me a new vision. What if the work I've already done throughout my career is the same parallel he has drawn with teams? I seem to derive energy from helping people clarify their story and figure out who should care and why. While this may be apparent having read the opening paragraph of this post or to those that know me, its mostly dawning on me at this point that it just might be the thing that carries me forward for a period of time. Beyond that, where the role lies or who I help might be less relevant. Its certainly true I'd rather not work for jerks or companies' whose mission I disagree with but that just might be it.
I often find myself pondering these days, "what might it take for people to be excited about banking?"
Go Forth Boldly
“Take a thing most people are blasé or disinterested with and make them care and you win.” Mike Rowe