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Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Job or a Calling

I just read the December 10th article by Michael Lewis on Bloomberg, “A Wall Street Job Can’t Match a Calling in Life”. The statement that most resonated with me was, "The distinction is artificial but worth drawing. A job will never satisfy you all by itself, but it will afford you security and the chance to pursue an exciting and fulfilling life outside of your work. A calling is an activity you find so compelling that you wind up organizing your entire self around it -- often to the detriment of your life outside of it. There’s no shame in either. Each has costs and benefits. There is no reason to make a fetish of your career. There are activities other than work in which to find meaning and pleasure and even a sense of self-importance -- you just need to learn how to look.”

Michael is right, a Wall Street job can’t match a calling in life for that matter most jobs don't match a calling. but I was not content to let it rest at that. There is a section on every annual review and goal setting form for personal development goals. Often these are populated with some form of guess work to what management may find impressive or what the company training department is offering from their stock list of classes; which this year will be very limited. It was after reading this article that I realized the opportunity presented by this classically underutilized area of the goal setting form. I am challenging every one of my staff to literally think outside of the box and identify goals that will allow opportunity to find meaning and pleasure that may or may not be directly tied to the work they are doing. The objective is to write goals that will enhance the employee’s value and that should include self esteem as part of the development process.

Positive well rounded thinkers will enhance the overall team performance and deliver fresh perspectives to the 2009 projects. The ability to come up with new and innovative solutions to the challenges in the marketplace without spending additional funds will be the mantra. Creativity in addressing potential threats and more importantly see the opportunities as others are dwindling in the market. Often it is not about investing more capital in seizing an opportunity, rather it is seeing the opportunity that others have missed.

Thus if it is one day a week that a staff member leaves the office a little early to work in an orphanage, feed the hungry, or other pursuit (my goal is not to pass judgment on their choice for you cannot predict were the opportunities will come from) it will be the opportunity for them to leave their mark on the world and the organization will benefit from the differing perspectives they return to work with.

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