ďYou have a masterís degree in accounting, a certificate in social work, an article published on nutrition. Your achievements are like a roomful of uncatalogued museum exhibits. No one can find your gestalt.Ē
The above is a quote from When is Enough Enough? What You Can Do if You Never Feel Satisfied by Laurie Ashner and Mitch Meyerson. Ashner and Meyersonís work is one of the first self-help books I purchased back in the 1990ís and is still one of my favorites. I believe what the authors are saying is that itís not advisable to pursue too many interests as it makes it more difficult to discern the patterns in your life.
My argument is this: maybe being a multi-faceted professional *is* your pattern. Maybe the person Ashner and Meyerson described is working for a health/nutrition oriented social service agency and decided to get a fiscally oriented masterís degree to enter into upper echelons of nonprofit management. Then each achievement would be a feather in his or her cap.
On the other hand, Iíve read enough about careers to know that when youíre resume is diverse, itís hard for employers to know what kind of job youíre seeking. A functional resume can take care of that problem in terms of presenting yourself to the public. However there is another level of organization that you must achieveóand that is within.
Whether youíre a multi-faceted professional or youíre career and interests are straight as an arrow, still you must have concrete reasons for doing what it is that you do.
And how do you determine if you are doing the right thing? The answer comes from self-help 101, you must be in touch with your values, your purpose, the big picture that is your life.
Create a Priorities/Task Matching Chart
This chart is my own creation and inspired by my childrenís elementary school homework assignments. Every so often Iíll select about twenty items on my Master To Do list. Iíll list these activities in one column on the left hand side of a page. Next, Iíll create a second column to the right of the first, which consists of my four major career goals.
Then I draw a line from each activity on the left to the appropriate career goal on the right. If while doing this I find that I canít link an activity with a career goal and the item is not a necessity for anyone, then I cross that thing right off of my list. When I do this I feel a sense of gratification. Knowing what you donít want is very important because it frees you to pay attention to what you do want. As Andrea Molloy writes in Stop Living Your Job Start Living Your Life ďby focusing on your priorities, you will automatically make room for what matters most to you.Ē
And if youíre still trying out a number of different things unsure of where youíll land, take heart. Stedman Graham, author of Diversity: Leaders, Not Labels,Ē told the New York Post that ďsometimes it takes doing a bunch of jobs to figure out what your passion is.Ē