Friday, October 21, 2011

What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

My Grandfather was a barber.

My other Grandfather was a doctor.

My Father took the bar exam in the 1960's, spent many years working as a lawyer with his own practice, as the town attorney and in the DA's office (all at the same time!) and was eventually elected County Court Judge, a post he's held for roughly 16 years.

My Father-in-Law spent about 35 or so years working for UPS, from package handler to all the way up to an executive.

My Mother was a teacher and then worked in the hotel industry for just about the remainder of her career.

My Mother-in-Law sold real estate, was a teacher before that and eventually became a guidance counselor for the rest of her career.

My Brother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law are Physical Therapists.

My Wife is currently staying home with our two sons and before that she was a teacher.

I asked my 5 year old last night what he wants to be when he grows up. His answer: a chef in an Italian restaurant.

I also asked my 2 year old what he wants to be when he grows up. His answer: a cow (FYI, he's going to be a cow for Halloween so I think he may have been a little confused by my question!).

What do all of these people have in common? A clearly defined notion of what they want(ed) to be when they grow up. Much to my wife's chagrin I unfortunately do not possess such a notion. At least I don't right now. For a while, during my theatre career, I definitely did. But since leaving the theatre industry it's been very hard to pin down and articulate. She and I both agree our lives would be a lot easier if I did.

Make no mistake, this can be a serious handicap to success and I know it. Knowing exactly what you are, what you have to offer and being able to clearly articulate those things is a significant key to successful career management and no one is going to do it for us. It's your brand and for some of us it comes easily and for some of us it doesn't (oh if I could just grow up to be a cow there'd be nothing to worry about!). If you are like me, it's not too late to brand yourself. If you aren't happy with your current brand, it's not too late to change it.

Everywhere you turn for career management you'll be confronted with this notion so you might as well address it now. Finding and defining your niche, what you have to offer that others don't is imperative. posted about it today:  Relevance: A Branding Essential to Finding a Job. As this post says, it is important to remember that it's not 1965, 1985, 1995, or even 2005 any more. The rules are changing and it's up to us to change with them or we will risk losing out.