I’m doing a lot of thinking lately about how we grow both as people and as professionals - though the thinking is being driven by some professional conversations I’ve been having.
The tension lies in how to grow. I love the kind of work I do right now. Turning “speeds & feeds” product information into interesting & valuable ideas; guiding a creative team to visualize them in attention getting & action driving ways; then bringing them to market. I’m quite good at this kind of thing, deliver great results, and have quite a lot of fun doing it (most days anyway). My current employer is very pleased with my performance in this area – but to ‘get to the next level’ I need to branch out into other areas – areas I’m not particularly good at and on which I don’t enjoy spending time. Business analysis and/or analytical research-y stuff. I appreciate that work – I utilize the results of that in MY work - but I don’t especially want to spend my days doing that work. It’s kinda boring to me. I don’t get to mail out thousands of Twinkies as part of my “Have your cake and eat it too” campaign or review creative of dogs munching server cables. Those things are fun for me.
So the question is do I continue doing what I dig & like until I’m bored (I’m not yet) or do I push to improve & grow even though I may not enjoy that work? Generally I believe in following my bliss but I also believe that new experiences rock and I try to take them whenever I can. I also believe that I’m just really good at creative stuff and that I’m often miserable when I do the other stuff. That said I don’t particularly enjoy running up hills or sprinting intervals (I find doing the work fulfilling but I’m never like “Whoopee! I’m running hills”) but I do those things because they make me a better athlete and are part of a training protocol for things I want to do like run marathons. So following that logic I would do some of these new things in order to stretch those unused or underutilized muscles. Maybe I can find a way to do the new stuff to grow but retain some fun stuff to keep me from going crazy? I don’t like compromise. I like to ROCK!