Transitioning from one job to another can be an existential threat. If I define myself by the job I had, then I’m undefined when it’s gone and only redefined by the next one.
A long time ago, Leonard Nimoy published an autobiography titled I Am Not Spock. After he thought about that for a few more years, he wrote another book called I Am Spock. I’ve been thinking about that in the context of my own search to figure out what it is I really want to do. What does the tagline “strategic information technology management” really mean?
Lately, I’ve been paying attention to what makes me happy work-wise. Being a trained behaviorist, I operationalize that to be the times when I’m “in the zone”. When I’m in the zone, I “see” problems, paths, tools, and strategies the way I assume a musician “sees” music. The zone is all-absorbing. When I float back to the surface, I have a strong sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
What do I want to do? I want to play my “music”, for an appreciative audience, and make things a little better than I found them. What do I want to be when I grow up? Sometime, when I wasn’t looking, I grew up and started being it. Am I my job or is my job me? That’s a false choice.
I need to rework my elevator speech. “I bring strategic thinking, problem analysis, and hands-on skills to small organizations to make information technology a strategic and value-creating business function. And it will make both you and me happy.”
As a result, we live long and prosper.