Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Off the Shelf:
Born For This
April was a month of pursuits that expanded to fill more than my allotted thirty days. I kept stumbling upon an ever-expanding clue trail in tracking down the family of missionary Peachy Taliaferro Wilson (and really, with a name like that, who could resist?). From that conclusion, I couldn't help but ponder the absence of a fellow genealogical researcher—and attempt to find the answer to my question—all the while revisiting reams of printouts and notes on a family tree I hadn't revisited for well over a decade.
When I came up for breath, it was nearly mid-May. And I hadn't attended to my usual monthly posts, like my resolution to do some indexing each month. And my promise to myself to read a book a month. That hasn't happened since the beginning of March.
Besides, I'm mindful of the special occurrences the month of May always brings—especially graduations. So when I saw an announcement that my favorite nonconformist had just published his most recent book, I had to add it to my collection.
Not just for my own reading pleasure, though. I have another motive in acquiring this newest title: I suspect it will be a great graduation present, at least for forward-thinking college graduates.
I was so keen on getting started reading this book that I couldn't wait for the hardcover to reach my home address. (Note: in my world, every book is a keeper, so every book I buy tends to be a hardcover edition.)
So I took Amazon up on their offer and read the first chapter, right off the page on their website. I wasn't disappointed. Chris Guillebeau's Born for This examines three aspects of the enviable work position: doing what brings you joy in life, receiving reasonable pay for the value you add through your work, and a third element the author calls "flow"—"the all-encompassing feeling you get from working well at something you enjoy." If you find yourself getting so engrossed in your task that you are surprised to realize how much time has past since you last took a break, you are experiencing the positive aspect he calls "flow."
Being the nonconformist that he is, Guillebeau isn't merely going to provide pat answers to the career question. In all his books, he's been careful to present a wide variety of perspectives and approaches, courtesy of the many interviews he conducts in preparation for each publication. I trust he won't disappoint on this one.
I've had a set of side interests that have become lifelong pursuits. One of them has to do with the methods of career selection, planning, and development. Maybe that's because I've never really known what I want to do when I grow up—so I've been fascinated with how others have successfully gone about it. The discovery process, that is. Plus the application. And the follow-through. Life purpose is something so easily camouflaged by life itself. Anyone who can simplify or clarify the process has my ear—and, I suspect, a good number of others' as well. I'm hoping to introduce a few freshly-minted graduates to this way of thinking.