Interesting reading, in the middle of a job search. Especially in the middle of a search where I feel like I'll have to take the first job that is offered, simply because I can't really afford not to.
Mr. Bronson, who rivals Studs Terkel in his continual assessment of the working world, does a variant of the old "follow-your-bliss" argument: he proposes that if everyone were able to find careers that aligned with their strengths and interests, workers would be happier and productivity and profits would skyrocket.
We are sitting on a huge potential boom in productivity -- if we could just get the square pegs out of the round holes.
He also writes:
Our economy is so vast that we don't have to grind it out forever at jobs we hate. For the most part, we get to choose.
This I find a little hard to believe because I know a lot of people who hate their jobs, and a lot of other people who wish they could be doing something different but can't find another alternative willing to hire them. (I know a lot of twentysomethings, which may be why my statistics are skewed.)
Still, he makes his point. Workers who get to use their strengths are happier. Happy workers work harder/better. Better work (should) equal more profits. Everybody wins!
At the beginning of my job search, I defined the career path I wanted as follows:
I'm not necessarily looking for a job in the fine arts, despite my degree. My goal is to find an admin or entry-level position in an organization which will allow me to use my analytical/writing skills. These seem to be the two biggest assets I have to offer an organization, and are also the parts of my current work which I find the most interesting.
With the entry-level job in hand, I'll begin to learn more about the internal structure of the organization, determine where my skill set could be most useful (and where I need to fill in the gaps in my education), and prepare myself for an eventual move up or a lateral move out.
Which means, at this point, that I'm not focusing on getting a job in a particular industry (e.g. "I want a career at a publishing house"). I'm looking at a variety of possibilities and am hoping to find an opportunity.
That's still the kind of job I hope to find. The interesting question, of course, is "what happens if I don't find it?"
I've already written a little about the idea of "fit" and how I can already tell whether or not I would fit well into a particular company. Here's the kicker: about a week ago I learned that one of my staffing agencies had submitted my resume for an entry-level editing position at a law firm. When I learned that I might be interviewing for that job (and that the interview would include an editing test), my heart quite literally leapt.
I also started "pre-working" for the job; taking editing tests online, getting books about proofreaders' marks, learning how legal documents were different from other kinds of documents, etc. All of this "work" was way-super-fun-awesome.
The law firm, unfortunately, told the staffing agency that they would only interview candidates with previous legal editing experience, so I didn't get my chance to meet them or take the editing test. Still, it was an example of a job description that felt right; that used my strengths and abilities to their best effort and that, for me, was less work than play.
So, Mr. Bronson and Mr. Mishra, there you have it. I know where I fit! I know what I want!
Now someone just help me figure out a way to get there!