Listen to Life: Business Cards
When my middle son told me that he had been offered a job with the United States Geological Survey, he could hardly contain his excitement for the various things that he'll be able to do, all of which tap into his love of the outdoors and environment, proficiency in trailblazing and scuba diving, and curiosity for caves and other corners of the world. "And you know what the job title will be on my business card? Geographer!" he asked and answered before I could get a breath in.
I had to smile. He has been "geographer" since his youthful days of exploring hill and dale, treetop and lake expanse; he has been "geographer" since he fell in love with the field at an age when he filled in maps with colored pencils. Now his work on maps involves 20,000 polygons to be managed through geographic information systems. He's come a long way, and he has quite a journey to go. And the business card, where his title is declared, says it all.
All of this made me wonder, do our job titles say anything about who we are? Likely not, as most job titles describe a role and/or a hierarchical status, and that's important in business. Is there ANYthing on your card that speaks to what matters to you? If not the job title, then how about the company? Also, if you could give a card to someone that stated what you are, inside, what would it say? And why do most of us hesitate to declare what our essence is when we can, on a moment's notice, provide a card and the proverbial "30-second elevator speech." I tell people in presentations that my mom birthed a poet, who has had careers in speaking, photography, writing and higher education administration. But I'm not an administrator or fundraiser; I'm a poet who has figured out how to translate that in the business world. I manage poetically, solicit funds poetically and plan poetically; at least, I feel that I do.
And so my geographer will start his new journey, and no matter how his card changes as he moves up the ranks, he will always remember the first card, the one who declared his role and his soul: geographer. We should all remember our real titles, too. We'll understand each other better if we do.
A free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com). Copyright 2008 Dion McInnis. All rights reserved.