Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What do you want to be?

I've had a few folks lately ask me how to handle the question "What are your career goals for the future?" ... which is often another version of "What do you want to be when you grow up?".

I don't know about you but, I find when that question is asked, it's not because the person is genuinely interested in you and your journey (unless of course it's your mentor!). They're generally more interested in seeing if your answer fits their needs. That's only human.

Lately, I've been trying out a new approach to this age-old question. I take the opportunity to outline my approach to my life and see if that fits the team/network/community of the person asking.

* I want to be excited by the things that make up my month - I'm prepared to have boring days here and there
* I want to be learning new things on a regular basis and teaching/coaching what I already know
* I want to have the chance to showcase my core talents (add your top 3 here)
* I'm really interested in (add the questioner's area here)

I then ask- are you following a specific path or a philosophy?

I don't often get pressed further on specifics as suddenly the conversation will veer into the philosophies of whoever is having the coffee with me. Then the connections start to happen and the original question is moot.

That's how I handle the question... but look at the question itself.

The question, I think, assumes a single track mind. A straight path. The last job a direct build on the next job. The next friend a copy of the friend before. etc.

Most folks I know re-examine their choices. Allow for new directions. The world isn't the same today as it was 10 years ago and it will be different again next year. I will always be a strategist/artist/facilitator (as surely as I will breathe) - but I can find myself in different roles and industries while applying those loves. My interests and abilities are as varied as my friends.

What I want to be is interested in my life and my community. How I achieve that is by participating and be open to change. Sounds cliche? Not to headhunters who go crazy when I refuse to be pigeon-holed. LOL

1 comment:

Laura said...

I've always been stumped by that question, forever. I couldn't answer when I was four, and I can't answer now. All I can tell someone is what i like to do now, what I used to like to do, and what environment I like to do it in. During interviews I often tell people what they want to hear to get the job. It doesn't always work of course.