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Meta-careers

A blind spot in discovering your mission.

Careers are funny things. Every child is asked “what do you want to be when you grow up.” And by now, I think it’s safe to say that we know this isn’t a stationary target anymore. It’s a long winding road.

Working in IT one moment and a baker the next. Sometimes both, baker by day and on-call server administrator at night.

I have struggled with this my entire life.

But, this isn’t new.

Day job, transferable skills, umbrellas — these aren’t new terms.

Wether you’re making career decisions driven by an industry, a philosophy, or survival, there’s still that nugget of choice. The questions you ask yourself around what to do next. Should I refuse to choose? Am I a renaissance soul? Is there a larger picture to find my genius?

Read. Fill out surveys and questionnaires. Fill binders and boxes. Scatter and search.

These are all good ways to uncover, but while you do, keep this in mind:

Meta.

[met-uh]: pertaining to or noting an abstract, high-level analysis or commentary, especially one that consciously references something of its own type.

With our innate educational training to focus in, a meta-career may go un-noticed, misinterpreted, or un-recognized. I think it’s because these meta-careers are more like fundamental pillars. We know we need them, every career uses them, but in the end we put as much effort and thought into them as we do blinking, or breathing.

Look over these possibilities that could be considered Meta.

Structures of Structures: Perhaps this was Leonardo da Vinci’s Meta. His meticulous notes and details not caring about “what” a structure ended up being, animate or inanimate, only there was structure within the structure, i.e. the ratio of a face or the rule of 3rds.

Research on Researching: I met a Management Consultant that has worked for a number of fields which at first seem disconnected. What does the migration patterns of birds have to do with cereal? How does it all have to do with a theoretical physics background? He loves research. So much so, that he is called in to help companies & organizations figure out how to research. His job is researching research techniques to allow folks to improve their methods and in turn make better decisions.

Communicating about Communication: I’m trying this skin on for a moment. What are the things that impede you from communicating. How do you decide what to communicate. How does one refine and tweak. What is the real root of your thought. How does that root become a single blog post, or even bigger, a strategy. Is it even worth talking about?

Look up, out, upside down and inside out

Classically, when searching we look in, we hone, we focus — for some that’s perfect. It may be for you.

If you’re constantly, like me, feeling like it’s close but not close enough — try looking outward and include the Meta.