New Series…Post #3: Turning the Grind into the Goal
The Pursuit of Value
Author Cal Newport has emerged as one of the more vocal critics of the only-do-what-you-love movement, and says it is time to end the professional guilt trip. In his book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Newport argues that following one’s passions can be a dead end. He maintains that it’s better to identify which skills you have that could be unique and valuable in the workplace, and then hone those skills until you have career capital that you can spend in the way you choose.
Developing career capital requires a carefully balanced mix of deliberate action and patience. If you are in a self-directed professional environment and are responsible for carving your own path, take responsibility for the direction in which you are heading – and what you need from others to get there. Do not wait for someone to come along who can help; be proactive in seeking out those who can provide mentorship and guidance along the way.
If you are responsible for developing career capital in others, incorporate this exercise in ongoing or annual reviews. Always be aware of the following question: “what I am I doing to help others identify their competitive advantages, and how am I providing opportunities for those strengths to turn into eventual career capital.”