“Mom, did you ever help Santa Claus find a job?” asks my daughter Emily who’s nine and knows I am a career coach.
“Why?” I ask.
“Well, because Santa Claus had a LOT of jobs! Before he was Santa Claus, he was a chimney sweeper, a mailman, a cook, a zoo keeper, and a circus performer! So, I was wondering if you helped him … because he REALLY could’ve used a career coach.”
“No, but I could have,” I tell her, “because lots of people have trouble deciding what they want to do … even Santa Claus!”
Just like Santa Claus, we all have the potential to become who we were meant to be …
… sometimes it just takes a while.
As a career coach who’s held 17 jobs, I know firsthand the difficulties of career indecision. Through trial and error, a lot of mistakes and a strong desire to succeed, I became who I was meant to be, and while my job might not be as important as Santa’s, I feel pretty blessed to have landed here.
Each year I work with hundreds of career changers, job seekers, new graduates, and professionals looking to reinvent themselves. I meet a lot of really talented people, with amazing drive and determination, and these interactions help me appreciate the professional impact each of us makes to our workforce. It helps me realize the workforce wouldn’t exist without the individual and collaborative contribution of ALL of us, regardless of what professional age or stage we’re in.
It also helps me remember the workforce needs millennials for their fresh ideas and tech savvy. It needs Gen Xers for their entrepreneurial spirit, adaptability and problem-solving, and it needs Boomers for their amazing work ethic and ability to mentor (not to mention fiscal responsibility). The workforce also needs us to help each other develop along the career path we were meant to follow.
Some people are blessed with the ability to identify and achieve their perfect career match early on, but if you like most of us, it takes a lot of trial and error to discover what we were really meant to do. So as we come to the end of another year and you find yourself in a job that’s not exactly the right fit, or in a transition not of your choosing, or contemplating your first career move, just remember, every job you have shapes in some way who you are meant to be.
… a chimney sweeper, a mailman, a cook, a zoo keeper, a circus performer?
“Let’s just wait to find out what your future brings, you may want to do all of those things!”
Yankovic (2011). When I Grow Up.
Krensky (2002). How Santa Got His Job.
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