Perhaps this post is too personal – but I suppose not confronting issues and resolving them has been a fault of mine, so let’s try to end that.
We all know deep down that you can only be really good at a few things, and you have to really care about those things to be really good at them. We recognize immediately when people we’re interacting with aren’t crazy about their job. Real passion and enthusiasm for a field or a goal cannot be faked. The receipts are there.
However, we can convince ourselves to stay in a job or a place or a relationship because of the risk or cost of changing. We can do a bunch of things to maintain that, but never with a mindset of truly achieving or truly excelling or doing something truly fantastic.
I recently got an unsolicited resume critique when filling out job applications that struck me immediately:
- Your resume seems to be missing a career summary, which is important at this stage in your career. When reviewing candidates with more than five years of experience, most employers expect to see career summaries at the top of resumes. More than an objective statement, a career summary provides a concise but comprehensive view of who you are as a professional, your years of experience in the field, and examples of skills or attributes you have that relate to the organizations you are targeting.
- Unfortunately, your existing resume gives the impression that you are a “doer” and not an “achiever.” Too many of your job descriptions are task-based and not results-based – telling what you did, rather than illustrating what you achieved. Employers and recruiters are looking for results-oriented resumes that help them envision how you could be an asset to their organizations. Your resume needs to show how you’ve made a difference or exceeded expectations, preferably with quantifiable information or data.
My current position is not one I calculated and selected – it is one I took because it was a very good opportunity to bring security to my family. The position I had before that, which comprises about 10 years of my life, was the same.
What the hell have I been doing? What have I achieved?
Well, I’ve achieved a lot of things – few of them with regard to my career, however. I’ve just been “doing things” to maintain the function of the organizations in which I’ve been a part.
The truth is, I don’t actually have a career. I have things I do and people I help from 8-5 on certain days to be paid money, most of which I don’t really care about and most of which I would not care about if I wasn’t paid. I’m basically a bad mercenary. And the thing is, most of my colleagues along the way have been almost 100% pleased at how my skills, mindset, and ethic have helped them. But that doesn’t help me feel any more fulfilled.
I suppose from 2007 (bachelor’s graduation) to 2009 (Master of Divinity), I just sort of assumed something would happen.
Then, from 2010-2015, I just assumed something would happen. I made a few attempts at doing things, but didn’t stick to anything. I sort of went toward Actuarial Science, but I failed to commit fully to it, and ended up drifting into training and weightlifting. In retrospect, these were the perfect years (2010-2014) to have gone full bore in taking science courses. To be fair to myself, I had no idea I was as interested in doing something professional/clinical in health. With the arrival of Belle and my wife’s worsening health, I did have to cut short my Chem II class and therefore the rest of the pre-reqs I wanted to take. Then I chose to move to the Tampa area, primarily to be closer to my wife’s family so we had a greater support network (in retrospect, it was actually stronger in Tallahassee).
So I’ve done a lot of things partway or halfway – I took through Calculus III, most of Chemistry II, took and did not pass an actuarial science exam… None of those things represents an “achievement.” I did things. I learned things. I don’t regret the learning – I regret not having achievements. With that understood, I need to take stock of what I have at my disposal and where I can go.
I find myself, at 33, locked in by:
- a mortgage;
- a wife with poor and declining health;
- child costs in terms of time and money (and the genuine enjoyment I get from spending time with my daughter);
- plenty of debt and medical expenses; and
- a job in a field I don’t particularly care for.
What do I want?
In an ideal world, secure a spot in a DPT program (given my intense interest in the psychology and overall physiology of exercise and its impact and potential to lead the transformation of a person) where I can put the full force of my capacity and talents into a profession.
But there are obstacles there – my age isn’t so much an obstacle, I’ve found out by asking around. But I do have a fair number of science pre-reqs I would need to take (which I would enjoy, but time and money are at issue), observation hours to do, and finally I would need to actually be accepted to the program.
I’ve always thought my purpose was God/Faith/Jesus in some way, and it still is, and I think I could do theological writing that would be at least a tiny bit successful. But I can no longer split my efforts so widely so as to not achieve anything specific. A focus needs to take shape which would allow me to pierce the resistances in front of me and make a path for myself, rather than relying on the already trodden and barren paths others have already taken.
I’ve come to see how much the physical world, fitness, emotional fitness, and familial fitness are intertwined in having a total human life. The capacity to move without pain or hindrance is the capacity to exist in the world.
I think my experience as a spouse of someone with a serious chronic pain issue (which isn’t just a periodic issue or some sort of idiopathic ailment that kind of hurts a bit, but a daily crushing reality for her – many weekends have been spent essentially bedridden, and she’s been seen by so many physicians at this point with no idea why) gives me an insight to what can happen if pain and psychology are allowed to spiral too far down. Depression feeds inactivity and the loss of an internal locus of control, and inactivity and the loss of control leads to depression, and on it goes. The tightrope balance of forcing a person to continue to exert effort toward the world around them and taking care of them is extremely tough territory – one cannot err too far on the side of being the messiah to a person in this condition, but one also cannot be too much of a whip-bearing taskmaster. I’d imagine this is useful in a clinical setting in PT where compliance and drive to be consistent in therapy are the ever-present insurgents against the person’s rehabilitation or improvement.
The world doesn’t need people who do what’s convenient for their current situations. The world needs people who absolutely love and obsess over what they do, regardless of what that is. They will lead the way, and intelligent managers and entrepreneurs must reward those types of individuals.