Look back and go well beyond your own personal history. Back past your birthdate, before the 1900’s and all the way back stretching to the year 1. Of course none of us were there, but if you looked back throughout recorded time and use your imagination as well as your memories of history classes in school, you can probably recall various periods.
We’ve had the Industrial age, the Renaissance, the periods of World War, the Crusades, the Iron Age. We’ve seen revolutions, peace treaties, new inventions, famines and even a great flood. We’ve had Generals lay waste to countries, benevolent spiritual leaders emerge around the globe, space exploration, new lands discovered by explorers, species discovered and extinctions, and holy wars. One constant in all of these times is that people had jobs in all these periods.
So I ask you as a man or a woman, what single job (and no cheating by naming two or more) do you think has the most appeal for you personally as you reflect on it in the year 2014? Are you thinking of a heroic role such as a knight in shining armour? How about one of the Apostle’s of Christ? Maybe Christ himself if it’s not too blasphemous? Let’s not put any restrictions on our brainstorming exercise or any value judgements either. Or maybe you prefer living a simpler life out of the spotlight and stress of modern living and see the life of a peasant girl growing up on a farm back in the 1500’s as your ideal.
Okay so now with that person in mind, imagine if you can the pros and cons of that job and life in general at that time. Were there good dentists around to fix your teeth in the period you imagine or did they pull out massive tongs to extract teeth and replace them with wood? What about transportation? How did they get around in the time you chose, and how far could you reasonable travel in a day to get to and from your job. For many people, you probably have chosen a job you walk to and from. If you went back far enough who knows, you might be living every second in fear of being swooped up by a Pterodactyl or chased down by some savage animal of the wilds.
But seriously, what is it that appeals to you in 2014 about that job or the role that person you think had the most desirable job? Can you picture their job description? If you wrote it today for that person back in time, what would be on it that would attract you to apply for it? You know what a job description looks like these days, so have fun with it.
Traveling Troubadour: Proficiency in the lute required, extensive traveling, self-confidence and the ability to perform in public a must.
Explorer: Extensive travel required, mobility a must. Negotiation, conflict resolution, mapping and writing skills required. Must be independent, provide leadership, deal with adversity and have sense of adventure.
Serf: Physically demanding work, low pay, long hours, compensated with protection and housing.
So whatever you chose, or choose now, my real question to you is why? What made you think of that job or that specific role and where lies the appeal in it for you? Fast-forward to the current year, and is there a job in our time where you can duplicate that role or has it been abolished? And if that role no longer exists, as in the case of a Troubadour, are there modern day versions of that job such as in the case of musical performers who go from city to city putting on shows and gigs?
Every job throughout time has had its perks and it’s drawbacks; the pros and cons if you will. Some jobs literally had your life on the line each and every waking minute if you were living at the whim of some tyrannical leader. Court jesters could be thrown in irons, forgotten or mutilated, but they could also live lives of relative ease and happiness compared to the masses who toiled in the service of a King. Geez, the worse that often happens today for a poor performance is you lose your job – not your life!
But returning to the reasoning behind your all-time job of choice. What is the appeal for you? If it’s sincerely the best job in over 2000 years that you can possibly imagine, is it conceivable that to be happiest you could make it happen now? Is there enough time left in your life to change your direction? Do you have the courage to do a complete turn and head off in another direction? Remember that Carpenter who became famous the world round made a career move at 30 in times when 30 was half a life lived. That would be like deciding at 45 or 50 to do something completely different.
And if you can’t or won’t change now, can you incorporate a little of that ideal job into your current job? You’ll need creativity, and some time to give it thought. It is after all the best job there’s ever been as far as you are concerned. Maybe your next presentation is one you deliver the intro to in song, bringing out the Troubadour in yourself. You set a mood of laughter, get the audience laughing and in good spirits and wow them with your work.
Hey, it could happen…