We All Work, But Are You Working Toward Something You Want?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

I’m still trying to figure out this morning routine. You know, the one that starts with getting out of bed and ends with going to work. Those two parts aren’t all that hard to figure out. It’s everything in between that’s all jumbled up. When I was working before, I had a solid routine every day. I need to get back to that routine. I do better when I don’t have a chance to think.

That said, I’m thrilled to be working again. People say if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Okay, people lie. It’s still work, some days more than others. But it’s work I enjoy. I like being in the thick of things, making something work that wasn’t working when I got there. Sometimes I break stuff just so I can fix it. Oops! Did I say that out loud?

I remember when I took my ASVAB test to enter the Navy. That’s a vocational aptitude test that tells the recruiter what kind of job you’d be good at. Funny thing is, more than forty years later, I’m writing that test. I write questions for different sections of the test and, all told, I’ve written close to 1000. So, if you’ve ever wondered who writes this stuff? The answer would be me.

When I took the test, I wanted to be a photographer or a member of a flight crew. Imagine my surprise when the recruiter said electronics or nuclear power. Excuse me??? Electronics guys are nerds, and nuclear techs glow in the dark! No thank you. Is there anything in there about being a rock star? I can do that!

Well, I went with electronics technician, but only after the recruiter promised I wouldn’t have to wear a pocket protector. I made him put it in writing. Until that day, I’d never had even a remote interest in electronics. But you know, that test did exactly what it was designed to do. It let them take an unsuspecting soul and put him in a job with the greatest amount of openings.

Okay, I’m kidding. The test is designed to measure aptitude, not interest. And, as it turns out, I had an aptitude for electronics. Maybe not so much electronics, but a keen interest in how things are supposed to work, and a fascination with figuring out why they didn’t. And most of the stuff I worked on was broken. Pilots are good at that. I fix it, they break it. Again, and again, and again.

Somewhere along the line, I found my ability to write. I didn’t mean to. Our company had asked us to submit a list of three things they could do better, and I was more than happy to help. A week later, one of the VPs came to me with my submission in hand. Yes, my heart skipped a beat. “This is it,” I thought, as I did a mental inventory of all the personal stuff I’d have to pack.

But he wasn’t there to complain. Okay, he wasn’t there to agree, either. Turns out, none of my suggestions were taken to heart. But I’ll never forget what he said. “I didn’t know we had anybody in the company that could write like this.” A month later I traded in my meter probes for a keyboard and began my career as a technical writer. Funny how things work out.

A few years later, I was asked to write some functional requirements for a software change. Basically, what does it need to do in order to get the job done? People actually write these things. Still, if you’ve ever used any kind of software, you know developers have a mind of their own, and the finished product doesn’t always match the requirements. And on we go.

But in my case, it was the perfect blend of skills. A technical mind, an ability to write, and an inner drive to figure out problems and make things work better. If you want to see me on a bad day, ask me to write a report. I was born to fix stuff, and when I’m in the middle of that, there is no such thing as a long day.

Sometimes, we find our true calling in the last place we’d think to look. We get so focused on the how that we forget the why. And when we do, we find ourselves working really hard toward something we never wanted. “It’s a living,” we say. Yep. So is doing the things that you were born to do. The question is, which would you rather be doing?

Focus on the dream, and the “how” will present itself. It may not be what you’d thought, and it may be the last thing you’d imagined yourself doing. But if what you’re doing hasn’t opened up your dreams, it probably never will. Be open to change. There are a lot of paths to reach your goals. Find one you can enjoy, and the trip will be that much nicer.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved