Finding the sweet spot

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:

  1. Explorers, whose work is study and research, and whose work-product is discovery and insight
  2. Interpreters, whose work is mentoring and facilitation, and whose work-product is understanding
  3. Inventors, whose work is imagining, and whose work-product is ideas
  4. Designers, whose work is crafting, and whose work-product is models
  5. Generators, whose work is creating and building, and whose work-product is ‘goods’ and services
  6. Nurturers, whose work is cultivating, and whose work-product is well-being
  7. Menders, whose work is sustaining, and whose work-product is regeneration
  8. Actors, whose work is re-creating, and whose work-product is fun
  9. 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.

Some thoughts:

  • 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?

  • Sacha
    I am currently in a web systems developer role and at first glance none of these categories jump out at me
    On closer look and after identifying some similarities with your analysis (as we perform similar jobs) , I have concluded that I perform all of the roles on a daily basis except for acting, but enjoy generating and interpreting the most, particularly in the Web 2.0 area
    sweet post
    cheers Peter

  • I am more of a wiki gardener, so I guess that makes me a Nurturer :)