One of the aspects of working for a fairly large company is occasionally having meetings and trainings that attempt to re-engage the staff in whatever it is you do in the first place. I’ve been driving to the same building, same parking lot for the past five and a half years and over time that commute, that reason you came here in the first place, can get a bit muddied and watered down when things become overly routine.
So the other day we’re all sitting in a big conference room and a venn diagram comprised of two circles overlapping is placed in front of us. In one circle, we’re supposed to write down “things you enjoy.” In the other, “things you are good at.” The point of this exercise was to try to find a connection between the two in order to shape your CAREER OF THE FUTURE, or something like that. I’m always baffled a bit by these exercises much in the same way I loathe being asked where I see myself in five, ten, or fifteen years. I haven’t figured out exactly what I am doing for my birthday next month, how the heck am I supposed to know what I’m going to be doing in five years? I always have a secret admiration for those folks that just know themselves enough to possess a plan of action that will carry them through their lifetime. I sort of just stumble around hoping eventually I’ll land in a place that fits right. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a sense of pride with the work I do most days, but I never quite know if this is it for me. I don’t have that “ah ha!” moment in my head that tells me I have done it, I have found my niche and can just work in this field for the rest of my life and be happy about it. So I guess these exercises really are aimed at the aimless people like me.
Anyway. In the things I enjoy circle, I wrote: craft beer, baking, snowboarding, soccer, music, etc. I wasn’t entirely sure if we were supposed to list technical things we enjoy, or just general activities. I probably failed this exercise before I even started. In the things I am good at, I wrote: LC-MS/MS instrumentation (I mean, I do it EVERY day, I have to be kind of good at this point, right?), method development (ok, this I’m not fully sure of, but I have done okay so far), grammar editing, and annoying my cats. I thought I’d be funny in case I got picked to read to the class. I didn’t, so the joke was only funny to yours truly. I really am a single cat lady.
The point I am making in all this rambling is that I’m not sure how I can tie one circle into the other and find my dream career or maybe I am just one of those people that works to fulfill my other dreams and doesn’t really have a “dream career” and instead just has a nice gig that keeps me challenged and satisfied, and the bills paid. I guess instrumentation is often used in craft beer analysis, but the industry is nearly impossible to get into if you haven’t already been working for a brewery. Plus, I think staying put is a good move for me right now, I’m gaining some new skills and am really interested in a lot of the upcoming work we have down the line. Maybe I can use my work expertise to hone brewing skills and therefore have a fun hobby that channels my passions outside of the workplace? I guess I have to do more homework to find that little overlap and figure myself out. That’s the fun part of being on your own. You don’t have anyone else to distract you from thinking and talking to yourself about what it is you’re supposed to do with all these hours you now have. Something to definitely ponder over a cold pint in the future, that’s for sure.