The Career Meter

By Christopher Zoukis

MSN’s homepage recently ran an article about America’s Most Successful Business Women.  On the list were such luminaries as Oprah, Meg Whitman, the novelist Stephenie Meyer (all those Vampire movies).  Even Tom Brady’s supermodel wife made the list.  It seems she’s hecka-good at investing money, which, when you stop and think about it, doesn’t really seem fair.  Not only did she get all the looks, but she got all the brains too.  Image courtesy funadvice.com

I was jealous as jelly, almost had a hissy fit.  It took two pints of Ben & Jerry’s to calm me down.

Prior to the article about Successful Business Women, MSN ran a big feature story on the World’s Richest and Most Successful Men.  The list included business men, sports stars, music recording artists, and Hollywood Moguls.  The thrust of the article was that all these guys had Great Careers.

My name was not on the list.

After sulking for a while, I got to thinking.  How come all these people had Great Careers and I didn’t?  For that matter, how come most people don’t have Great Careers?  In the course of trying to find the answer to my question, I pursued a number of different avenues.  First, I prayed about it, asking for divine enlightenment.  What is commonly referred to as Wisdom.  Nothing happened, no revelation from on high occurred.  Then, since Heaven seemed reluctant to give it up, I had a friend consult the next closest thing:  YouTube.  If you’re looking for the meaning to life, YouTube has a video about it.

Eureka!  Based on what I saw and learned I devised what I call ‘The Career Meter,’ which is composed of six simple steps that, if followed, may result in a Great Career.  If it’s easier for you, just think of it as the SSS (triple S) method.

  1.  You have to know what you want, which is much more than just saying, “I want a Great Career.”  You have to define what you want, narrow it down.  The best way to accomplish this is to enumerate the things you are interested in.  Discard the interests that don’t totally engage you.  The last one standing is the winner.  And if you’re not interested in very many things, there’s an outside chance you might be boring or, worse, a candidate for Prozac.  There is a catch, which is resolved in step #2.
  2. The catch is that you must be passionate about your interest.  You can’t just feel strongly about it or believe in it.  It must ignite your spirit, inspire every fiber of your being, and basically leave you gasping like a fish out of water.  Your passion must push you past fervent into the realm of fanatical.
  3. This step is a doozey.  You cannot allow other people to dissuade you from your passion.  There’s always some Debbie Downer ready to pour cold water over your enthusiasm, saying things like, “That’s crazy, it’ll never work” or “If it was possible, somebody a lot smarter than you would have already done it” or “There’s no way you can make a living doing that.”  Don’t listen to the naysayers.  Use earplugs and remain focused on your passion.  Remember that great line from the Transformers movie:  “Fifty years from now, when you’re looking back on your life, don’t you wanna say you got in the car?”
  4. Be sure you have the necessary skills to make your dream come true.  If your passion is to design a Near Field Communication app for smart phones that will make credit/debit cards obsolete, you will need certain technical skills.  You may not have the skills right now, but you can get them.  Learning is fun!  Enroll in some tech-courses.  You’ll not only acquire the skills you need, you might meet other likeminded people.  Bill Gates encountered Paul Allen.
  5. Without a doubt, pursuing your passion will take you out of your happy place, your comfort zone.  For example, your passion is to export wine to Italy.  You’ve mastered the Italian language, you’re knowledgeable about wine (not just how to drink it), but you don’t like flying and you’ll miss your cat and there goes your savings account.  Either move out of your comfort zone, which means taking a chance, or stay where you (manager of the local bowling alley).  The fire-breathing dragon of fear – fear of change, fear of failure, fear of ridicule – will have to be slain.
  6. Your resolve and dedication must burn at a fervent new heat.  Persistent is your watchword.  No excuses, such as I need to spend more time with my kids or my wife or my parents.  The same inner spark that drives you to pursue your passion will also pervade your human relationships.  You’ll actually become a better person because of your Great Career.

As you can see, the Career Meter is not for the fainthearted.  Each step is akin to a root canal without anesthetic.  Not much fun.  The choice is yours.  Either stay home and eat Cream of Wheat or switch to Wheaties, the Breakfast of Champions, and pursue your passion.