Dave Pollard shared this excellent diagram for finding the sweet spot for what you want to do in life. He lists these nine career types:
- Explorers, whose work is study and research, and whose work-product is discovery and insight
- Interpreters, whose work is mentoring and facilitation, and whose work-product is understanding
- Inventors, whose work is imagining, and whose work-product is ideas
- Designers, whose work is crafting, and whose work-product is models
- Generators, whose work is creating and building, and whose work-product is ‘goods’ and services
- Nurturers, whose work is cultivating, and whose work-product is well-being
- Menders, whose work is sustaining, and whose work-product is regeneration
- Actors, whose work is re-creating, and whose work-product is fun
- Connectors, whose work is distributing, and whose work-product is cross-pollination
- Dave Pollard
This made me think about who I am and what I enjoy doing. A large part of my work is interpreting - helping people learn more about emerging tools and technologies. As an IT specialist and application developer, I’m also a generator. I love building systems. And I can’t help but be a connector both inside and outside the organization, spreading ideas, resources, and connections.
- The Generator role is the easiest to scale. I can build systems and get measurable results. Progress is easy to see.
- The Interpreter role is also fulfilling. It takes more time, though, because I like working with complex ideas that people can’t teach themselves. I may be able to scale this up by creating material and training others.
- The Connector role is fun, but mostly ad-hoc for now. It’s hard to plan serendipity. ;)
So right now, I’m in a great spot. I get to switch between Generator and Interpreter (and sometimes I combine the two in a single engagement). Because I’m in a large organization with great social computing tools, I can connect people too.
Hmm… How do I grow from here?
- Generator – develop deeper technical skills, practice building small systems
- Interpreter – learn more about organizing information and creating learning material
- Connector – continue to collect ideas, tools, resources, and links to people… =)
How about you? Where’s your sweet spot?