What is the best job ever if you're me.
May 11, 2011 5:45 AM   Subscribe

What jobs/careers does this remind you of?

If you'll look at my previous questions, you'll see that I'm having career woes. A friend asked me to "quickly throw together a paragraph or two" about what I'd do if the money was guaranteed. What I wrote is below. As I said up top, what jobs/careers does this remind you of?

Also, I'm curious to know how the below is or is not actionable, in your eyes, and how I might frame what I want to do more constructively.

---

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Precise vision-holding, community-building, tribe-building. Assembling colleagues and minions. Communicating values, organizing human systems. Working with, dealing with whoever shows up. Painstakingly tracking down people I like to spend time with, figuring out how to do business with them. Exercising my agency, my values, my vision in the world.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
—Marcel Proust

(Just another quote that I deeply resonate with... )
posted by zeek321 to Work & Money (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Director of a humanities non-profit or a Webmaster.
posted by JJ86 at 5:50 AM on May 11, 2011


I'm curious to know how the below is or is not actionable

It sounds like you want to be in charge. I don't know if being in charge is something realistic at entry level, unless you also have the entrepreneurial spark and a specific vision you want to realize. Oh, yeah, and the money to fund it all at start up.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:57 AM on May 11, 2011


Librarian / Webmaster, Web Librarian, that person that works in a library that does the web sites, whatever it may be called.
posted by Blake at 5:58 AM on May 11, 2011


HR.
posted by orthogonality at 5:59 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reads more like a management philosophy than any particular job or industry. I think a possible path is to find a company known for having a strong culture and a track record for developing managers. Your description made me think of one example--W.L. Gore (maker of gore-tex and other polymer products).
posted by mullacc at 6:01 AM on May 11, 2011


In other words, you want to be an executive at a Fortune 500 company. Which is good work if you can get it, but if you don't have it already, pretty unlikely to happen.

More realistically, it sounds like you're talking about the role of corporate promoter. There are people whose job it is to bring the right parties together to get businesses or ventures off the ground. This includes talent, financing, suppliers, buyers, the works. The role of the promoter is basically done as soon as the thing gets started; they then more on to the next project. A lot of times this role falls on bankers or investment professionals, because the finance side is the most technical, and the more social side can kind of be added on from there.

If you want to do that kind of work, business school may be the way to go. The "education" itself is basically a joke, but that's how you get connected with the business community. Kind of a two-year networking event with some classes thrown in now and then.

Alternatively, you could get a finance degree. There's actually something to finance per se, as the banking system is incredibly complex, but you'll also get the kind of networking opportunities you need.

Any way you slice it though, this isn't something you can just start doing. You need to establish relationships and credibility, not to mention having a big pot of money to throw around, either your own or someone else's. That probably means working for someone else for a while, likely something like a private equity fund or investment bank. Which is also good work if you can get it, but people actually do get those jobs, so it's worth considering.

The one thing you probably can't do is to set out on something like this without wanting to be on intimate terms with money. "Inspiring" people, outside of the artistic or educational contexts, is frequently synonymous with getting them to spend money or contribute time/resources (which amounts to the same thing) in ways you would like them to. Quotes like "Exercising my agency, my values, my vision in the world." make you sound like you might be uncomfortable engaging in activities for an explicitly lucrative purpose, but the sooner you can get over that the better for everyone. Money isn't everything, but it does make the world go 'round, and the idea that we should be somehow morally fraught about getting paid to do things is a holdover from the days when aristocrats were worried that working for money would somehow diminish their nobility. To the extent that you feel this aesthetic urge, you need to kill it, and quick.
posted by valkyryn at 6:02 AM on May 11, 2011


Documentary film producer
posted by jgirl at 6:05 AM on May 11, 2011


There's nothing wrong with what you want to do, but it really isn't at all career-specific. It really just means that you want to run things your way, without constraints. You want to be the owner of a business, or the founder of a non-profit, I think.
posted by tyllwin at 6:16 AM on May 11, 2011


How about middle school or high school teaching? New eyes every year, certainly "dealing with whoever shows up," and though it would be irresponsible to treat a class as an exercise in "tribe-building," exactly, you certainly would have some latitude to expose them to values you felt important.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 6:33 AM on May 11, 2011


Technical evangelist. I know a guy who's well on the way to doing this whole "get smart people in the same room and see what happens" role, and he started by networking like crazy and running his own events. Once he had a track record, a corporate took him seriously enough to hire him to do the same thing for them. They bought his experience, but more importantly they bought his contacts and his goodwill in the community.

In summary, if you want to organise and lead, start by organizing something grass-roots.

BTW, INTP? You're just going to stress yourself out and make yourself miserable. You have been warned.
posted by Leon at 6:36 AM on May 11, 2011


BTW, INTP? You're just going to stress yourself out and make yourself miserable. You have been warned.

[I've mentioned being an INTP in a previous question.] Please explain! I have decent, effortless, authentic interpersonal skills. Historically, I needed to be alone to recharge. But I've found that I don't need as much time alone if what's going on is an expression of my values, because then in-person is a similar effect to being alone.
posted by zeek321 at 7:05 AM on May 11, 2011


No one is going to simply pluck you from your dead-end job to make you a visionary. Visionaries make themselves. Figure out what you want to do, and then build something around it. Start a non-profit. Start a business. Start a club. If you can't get those projects off the ground, you're just a dreamer, not a visionary. Figure out which one you are.

That said, you can do a lot of good and get a lot of experience if you get involved early in the 2012 presidential campaign for your favored candidate. Campaigns always need bodies, street teams, office workers, etc. Most people don't bring a lot to the table. If you get involved and show initiative, it will be recognized and appreciated, and you will be put into a position of authority more quickly than anywhere else. I have a friend who quit his law job to work for Obama 2008, ended up managing volunteers for a whole state, and then parlayed that experience for a great job in government. Give it some thought.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:07 AM on May 11, 2011


Thanks so much everyone; every single comment has been helpful. I have a software and engineering background. I'm going to have a look at some finance books for starters. Still most definitely watching this thread.
posted by zeek321 at 7:23 AM on May 11, 2011


(I did indeed start two clubs from scratch, and both are still going strong. And I hang out regularly one-on-one with a couple battle-tested, small-business entrepreneurs and micro-angel-investor type people. But they don't know how to help me get the clarity I need. We keep amiably going around in circles. Other stuff up thread looks appealing too.)
posted by zeek321 at 7:44 AM on May 11, 2011


Please explain!

I think your characterisation of yourself as INTP may be wrong. But it's an imperfect classification system anyway; lets not get hung up on labels.

Ok, here's a challenge/practical advice for you. Put together a small event for your industry (barcamp style maybe?), and get a major industry player to sponsor it. You don't need a lot of cash, just a speaker and maybe a few $$$ for the bar. You'll gain experience, contacts and reputation.
posted by Leon at 7:52 AM on May 11, 2011


(The guy I'm thinking of didn't need the hints/advice, he just went ahead and did it. Some people have that knack. I'm pretty sure I don't... wish you luck, though.)
posted by Leon at 7:53 AM on May 11, 2011


zeek321: What jobs/careers does this remind you of?

Precise vision-holding, community-building, tribe-building. Assembling colleagues and minions. Communicating values, organizing human systems. Working with, dealing with whoever shows up. Painstakingly tracking down people I like to spend time with, figuring out how to do business with them. Exercising my agency, my values, my vision in the world.


Non-profit development director or executive director. You can look into going back to school for a graduate degree in non-profit management if that is of any interest.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:57 AM on May 11, 2011


Politician.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:12 AM on May 11, 2011


Non-profit development director or executive director.

This.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:06 AM on May 11, 2011


I'm not trying to rip you down, but there's a sense of irony to you listing 'price vision-holding' in a list of non-specifics whilst asking the internet to help you create a vision. Are you sure you're suited for this sort of visionary role? If so, most NGO directors become directors because they formed the NGO with a specific vision. Do you have a specific passion you're hoping to pursue? It doesn't sound like it. With your background, maybe you could work for a company like Google, that has employees work 15% (I think? Been a while) at outside or side projects, which are encouraged to be more community oriented.
posted by namesarehard at 10:12 AM on May 11, 2011


hah, specific vision-holding. I wonder where 'price' came from.
posted by namesarehard at 10:13 AM on May 11, 2011


Ah, precise.
posted by namesarehard at 10:14 AM on May 11, 2011


I'm not reading "vision-holding" as the same thing as "vision-generating." A lot of non-profits struggle to transition from the leadership of the visionary who founded them (see, for example, founder's syndrome). I could see someone with the OP's philosophy as a consultant helping small non-profits with succession planning or the transition to a larger and more professional operation - the ability to convince leadership and employees that he or she understands and values the organization's mission and vision, and has the skills and connections to introduce needed changes that increase organizational effectiveness in achieving that mission and vision would be key. If someone went into that role seeking to impose their own mission or vision, things would go significantly less smoothly.
posted by EvaDestruction at 10:30 AM on May 11, 2011


Start a non-profit. Start a business. Start a club.

Cart before the horse. Go and volunteer at several places. Work several jobs. Join several clubs. There is more to "starting" a non-profit and most businesses than meets the eye.

Volunteering can also put you in touch with people who are in a position to see your potential and help you achieve it.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:54 PM on May 11, 2011


Brand manager.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:40 PM on May 11, 2011


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