November 2012

When I Grow Up …

November 4, 2012

Somehow it seems that signs come in three’s… Earlier this week I was reading an article by HBR blogger Umair Haque titled “How to let your purpose find you”; then later at lunch the same week I sat at a table with four other colleagues and the discussion strangely veered into a different direction than the normal gripe-fest that tends to happen over lunch. One of the people at the table asked a simple question “if you weren’t working in the ‘corporate world’ what would you have been doing instead?” Thirdly I had a conversation with a friend who shared with me her disappointment with her boss during a career development conversation. Her boss told her and I quote “don’t look for meaning and happiness at work; focus on your family life that’s what’s real, that’s where you’re true happiness should be”. I’m normally one to see connection in everything; the mundane and the complex everything is interrelated (in my mind at least!) and linking these three occurrences got me revved to write a post related to the holy quest of meaning, purpose and passion in our lives and careers.

Going back to the earlier question the other people at the table each had their own response (that they were quite reluctant to share I must add) but what really surprised me was that their “dream” career choices were all related to music, dance, drama etc. Knowing these individuals and how they come across day to day I wouldn’t have pegged them as interested in the arts at all, but there goes my judgment out the window. This goes to show the hidden layers people have of their selves and what they choose to share with the outer world and what they choose to keep buried within them. The entire lunch group shared that they grew up in very conservative families where choosing a career in the arts was completely out of the question. Good children grow up to work in steady, stable jobs, be punctual, courteous to their bosses, complete their daily work and go home. One of them even stated “if I ever could do something else and that would be absolutely impossible” before sharing that she would have loved to play piano professionally; with a deep sigh of regret.

[click to continue…]