If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there

The-Flying-Dutchman-vrs-The-Black-Pearl-pirates-of-the-caribbean-31292993-660-397I’ve recently interviewed a few individuals who’ve had no clue as to what they wanted to do, and where they wanted to go. One was 25 years of age. The other had to be pushing 60.

The Millennial had spent four years plying his trade in the sports broadcasting arena. He’d landed a few gigs in markets that would make Buffalo, Wyoming, seem like the big time, but had yet to even scratch the surface in terms of advancement.

Since his uncle was a good friend, I invited him to come in and talk.

Me: “So, what are you career goals?”
Ex-sportscaster: “To make a lot of money doing what I love.”
Me: “Which means you want to be the next Jack Buck or Cris Collinsworth?”
Ex-sportscaster: “Maybe but, at this point, I just want a good job.”
Me: “Doing what?”
Ex-sportscaster: “Dunno. Marketing, advertising, sports. Doesn’t matter.”

End of conversation.

I told the Millennial to take some time, narrow his focus and come back when he knew what he wanted to do with his life.

The second job seeker was a one-time power broker with a Fortune 500 company. She’d recently been downsized, and was looking to “…begin the next chapter of my life.”

Me: “Well, that’s pretty exciting. What do you see yourself doing?”
Ex Big Wig: “I’m pretty much open to anything.”
Me: “Well, I’d like to help. Are you interested in the corporate or agency side?”
Ex Big Wig: “Anything that would match my previous salary and compensation.”
Me: “OK. Well, what do you do best?”
Ex big wig: “Manage people.”

End of conversation.

I wished her well on chapter two, but suggested she first figure out what she actually wanted to do.

Today’s business world is absolutely brutal. It rewards the specialists, and ignores or discards the generalists.

In fact, one might liken the job seekers to the Flying Dutchmen of business who will forever wander the job market until they figure out who they are, what their area of specialization is and what they can bring to the plate (or shoreline, if you prefer).

2 thoughts on “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there

  1. Yikes. There’s a way to say that you can be flexible and “do anything,” but then there’s how these two positioned it.