Thursday, January 17, 2013

Your Career and You: Thinking About and Trying New Things Is Fun


I’m writing this on the subway as I head down to Curry College for another day of doing what I classify as “fun.”

My “job” is overseeing the undergraduate Public Relations concentration in our Communication major, teaching most of the PR courses, and advising/counseling students. But it's more than that.

To me, it's having fun while helping others figure out their goals and life’s purpose.

Some folks who haven’t wandered through my world don’t understand what I mean by “fun,” especially when they learn that I’m a public relations professional turned college professor teaching the next generations of what I envision as our future professionals. What baffles them, apparently, is that I'm always smiling as I bounce along the sidewalks all over campus.

Why do I act this way? Because I absolutely love what I'm doing. Period.

As I say time and again, both to these skeptics and to my students, “If you’re not having fun doing what you do for a living, do something else.”

I realize this isn’t the “accepted” way of approaching adult life. But it has been my modus operandi for more than a quarter of a century, and I have no intention of changing…at least not changing the fun part! Maybe where I’m having fun, but not what I’m doing to have fun.

Trying new things…in new places sometimes…should be part and parcel of your career development. Stepping out of your comfort zone and testing your abilities gives you the self confidence that you can succeed in just about anything you try.

I’ve moved from federal government to technology to member services to healthcare in my professional PR career, from the US to the Philippines and back, and to Hawaii from Massachusetts and back to Massachusetts…all in the name of “trying something new.”

I’m not saying that everything will work perfectly every time. Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. I know. Been there; done that…a couple of times.

But I also learned something about myself each time that added to my repertoire of career skills and abilities.

The excitement (disguised as panic??) of starting a new job...or starting a new job in a new location…or starting all over in a new location with the goal of finding a new job…is exhilarating. But it requires a firm belief in your own ability to succeed.

I’ve had conversations with two different friends in the past couple of days, one of whom has hit a point in her professional career where she feels like it’s time for a change…she just isn’t sure what that change will be. But the gleam of excitement in her eyes as we talked about the future said it all..."new things ahead!"

The other friend is on a mega-roll of good luck in her job. She has taken a lackluster PR program and moved it into nationally-recognized prominence. And we spent an hour on the phone brainstorming ideas for the next phase. The excitement in her voice painted a clear picture of a young professional eager to make her mark on the world…and she will.

In both these cases, my friends used the words…without my prodding…“having fun.” They are at that point in their lives/careers where it’s not just about the “job.”

It’s about doing something new that will make a difference in their lives and the lives of others...and having fun doing it.

"We must dare to think 'unthinkable' thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world. We must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of dissent. We must dare to think about 'unthinkable things' because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and action becomes mindless." - James William Fulbright, "Speech in the Senate" [March 27, 1964]

7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Couldn't agree more! Thanks for being a wonderful mentor who leads by example.

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    1. Thanks very much, Amanda. And you are doing the same as you progress in your own career!

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  4. Kirk, this is exactly what I needed right now. Thanks so much for helping me see it through your view of excitement and fun.

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    1. Thank you SO much, Monica! You have absolutely made my day with your comment, and I am delighted that my thoughts can serve a purpose!

      P.S...I see that you are a DINFOS alumna...so am I...Public Affairs Officer Course '77. Army public affairs (civilian) for 7+ years.

      Happy Valentine's Day! :-)

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  5. The excitement (disguised as panic??) of starting a new job...or starting a new job in a new location…or starting all over in a new location with the goal of finding a new job…is exhilarating.

    Public Relations

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