What do you do?

I am reading More Space (which I highly recommend). I just finished Rob May’s chapter. I enjoyed his overall theme "Why Business Matters", but I was particularly drawn to one particular point he made.

I don’t care about a job, I want more than that. Any time I am between
projects or businesses, people always try to find me a job. They don’t
get it. They ask me, “What do you want to do?” But I never give an
answer they expect. I don’t want to manage. I don’t want to program. I
don’t want to design products. I want to work toward a larger goal. If
those things are steps along the way, then fine, I will do them; some of
them I will even enjoy, but I do my best if I understand the greater
goal.

This made me realize how often I answer the question, "What do you do?" , with a job description. A few posts back, I was asking for advice on creating a new opportunity at my company. Some of the feedback I got was making the same point, "Why do we describe who we are in terms of tasks instead of outcomes?" I think that is a great question. The problem is that the western european mindset, under which many of us labor, is built around task orientation and problem solving. Maybe if we spent less time dealing with mechanics and tactics, and more time thinking and behaving with regard to vision, outcomes, and long-range goals, we would be better off. If we really engaged in conversations about the big picture, I think we would be amazed how many of those "tactical problems" would disappear or be easily resolved.

Thanks Rob.

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One Response

  1. You’re welcome. Glad you like the book. It took a lot of editing to pull a decent essay out of my brain!

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