What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

I was recently speaking to one of my friends about what she wanted to be “when she grew up”. Yes, I know this seems a bit silly but even folks my age (~11 years old) don’t know!  It’s okay.

We started talking about all the roles we have had in our career.  Roles we liked and those that maybe weren’t amazing, but taught us something.  I believe that every single role I have had in my career, even tending bar, has taught me life lessons.  The lessons include: understanding human nature, customer-first thinking, how I want to show up as a leader, and what kind of partner I want to be to my colleagues.

I could write a blog post on each of these topics, and I probably will soon.  Wait for it . . . wait for it.

In the meantime, I want to tackle what my friend and I kept coming back to: the idea of a job versus a career.  I am sure most of us have experienced both.  I think you can even experience both in the same role as you grow and develop.

A job- I define this as a place where you go everyday and make the widgets and then go home.  You collect your paycheck every two weeks and go to happy hour with your work friends. You bitch about your manager and all the things that are wrong with those dang widgets!  Jobs don’t fulfill a passion in your life.

A career- This is your calling.  This might seem like a romantic notion, but it is true.  Your career is  a place where you can grow and develop and change the world! Building widgets (hopefully better than the ones referenced above), writing code for the newest cool app, or writing the next great American novel. Your career should make you feel like you are changing the world.

A career can evolve and change as you grow.  You could do all the examples listed up above. Don’t limit yourself to one career in your lifetime.  Go big or go home, right?

For me, the biggest difference between a job versus a career is passion.  Do you wake up in the morning excited to jump out of bed ready to tackle the latest challenge in your chosen field? Are you able to do things that scare you everyday?  Are you challenged to learn new and better ways of doing the work?  If the answer to these questions is yes, then you are lucky- congrats!  Enjoy your career.

If the answer is no, it’s time to do some soul searching and figure out what needs to change to get to yes.  It can be a small tweak to how you are approaching your current role or maybe it is bigger.  Turn over a new leaf, or the whole dang tree.  What gets you excited?  What makes you proud?  What can you do to change the world?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Photo Credit: Roberdan via Compfight cc