Career Paths & Following The Thread

The other night I went and saw Won't You Be My Neighborthe recent documentary about the gentle and genuine Fred Rogers. In May 2001, a few years before he passed away, Mister Rogers delivered a commencement speech at Marquette University. The speech is moving, a reminder of our humanness and connectedness to one another. Set aside time one evening this week to give it a listen.

This one line of Mister Rogers' speech stuck in my mind. He said:

"You don't ever have to do anything sensational in order to love or to be loved. The real drama of life (that which matters most) is rarely center stage or in the spotlight. In fact, it has nothing to do with IQs and honors and the fancy outsides of life.

What really nourishes our souls is the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the foundation of our very being is good stuff."

That hit me in a big way because it's grounded in what's important in life. There are days when I try my best to hustle, to round the right corner, to become a "success" in business, even when such success feels mysterious and elusive. I think I'm too cozy spending time with my cat or simmering for hours with a good book. My imagination, not the boardroom, is my favorite playground.

Some days I try to pump myself up with one of Gary Vaynerchuk's inspiring rants. Other days, I just want to lay in bed and explore the flora, the fauna, geese, and human spirit with poet Mary Oliver, as she traipses through the woods. That's where I feel at home. Listening to On Being with Krista Tippett. Traversing the depths of the human soul. I do love people. However, if being a hermit were a viable profession, I'd sign on the dotted line.

Over the last few months, since seriously sticking my nose into the world of human resources, it dawned on me that it's not about the field itself. It's not about learning how to increase employee engagement or stumbling upon strategies to make onboarding more effective and efficient.

It's much more simple than that. I love to learn. I love the exploration.

Finding connections between ideas and disciplines, theory and practice, gives me such a deep satisfaction.

Following the thread, for me, is often more exhilarating than what might be found at the end. heck, i'd rather not ever reach the end. just let me wander. let me explore.

It's possible I'm looking at it all wrong. Focus on serving people and being kind and perhaps a business-like sort of reward will come about. 

I really don't know. But I'll keep following the thread to see what I stumble upon. 

Josh HershComment