Several years ago, I met a consultant with a large consulting firm named Steve. Steve introduced himself to me as the “pricing specialist for the tire industry.” Pretty exciting, huh? As I mentioned in an earlier post, you can find fulfillment in any job and pricing tires is no exception. It is very possible that Steve loved his job. But after he introduced himself to me, it was clear to me that he didn’t. How did I know? It was the way he introduced himself to me. He didn’t say, “I’m the pricing specialist for the tire industry” with energy, a smile and a twinkle in his eye. Rather, he introduced himself to me with a look of confusion and puzzlement across his face. It was as if he was saying, “how the hell did this happen to me?”
Steve’s story is not an unusual one. He graduated from college top of his class and took the first job offered to him. He worked for several years and decided that he wanted “something different” but he wasn’t sure what. So he went back to school for an MBA. Upon graduation, he received an offer from a consulting firm. “Fantastic!” Steve thought. Consulting will be like a buffet. He could choose a project and an industry and if he didn’t like it, he could always go back through the line and pick something else. Surely, he would find the right fit. Any guesses as to Steve’s first project? Yep – pricing work for a tire industry client. Steve did a phenomenal job. So much so, that the client wanted a follow-on engagement with Steve on the project. Ten years later, Steve is THE pricing specialist for the tire industry. If you’ve got a question about rubber, you can ask him.
The moral of the story? If you don’t intentionally decide what work you want to do – the kind of work you get energy and fulfillment doing, someone else will decide for you. And it won’t be based on what they think you might enjoy from the buffet. No. It will be whatever is left over.
So, have you been waiting for the right job to “come along?” Waiting for someone else to present you with a fulfilling job? If so, you may find yourself “pricing tires” for a very very long time. This month is about intentionally and actively pursuing fulfilling work. With some courage, purpose and faith, it can be done. So, drop the tires and get moving.