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 researcherand attempt to find the answer to my questionall 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 bringsespecially 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 upso 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 earand, I suspect, a good number of others' as well. I'm hoping to introduce a few freshly-minted graduates to this way of thinking.



  1. I bet that is an interesting read! I hope you figure out what you want to be when you grow up! :)

    1. I think I'm closing in on it, Far Side...but I doubt it will make me rich or famous...

  2. It has been hard for me to comprehend why so many think a living-wage job should be enjoyable. For most of us, enjoyment doesn't even usually come with a living wage. Factory owners generally want to get as much out of their employees as they can, for a little compensation as they can get away with.

    My favorite occupation had some creative enjoyment, but not really a living wage. So I opted for an occupation that paid better and had the prospect of a fair retirement income. Unfortunately the working conditions had really adverse health aspects (as for so many, in past decades and these days).

    There are many dreamers out there, but relatively few can live their preferences.

    1. Geolover, I suspect it's that hard dose of reality, when it comes to the stark facts of the work world, that turn so many into "dreamers." If it weren't for those who are tired of the unfortunate status quo, perhaps we all would still be buying the line that we should content ourselves with factory jobs.

      It's unfortunate that people had to pay for the security of a "good" career with their health. I know several who are still saying such things. Perhaps I'm one of those dreamers who, when stuck with the demand, "Your money--or your life!" will seek to find a way to gain enough balance to still respect that life.

      Apparently, there are some people out there--perhaps aided by the new realities of a world powered by technology--who have found a way around this conundrum. I want to pick up a few pointers from their play book.


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