If I were to try to sort out my floundering professional career, I wouldn’t start from here.
A career of humdrum modest achievement that adds up to less than the sum of the parts.
I live in the future, so while I often wistfully run through my many regrets and plan how well I’d do it if only I could go back and do it again, in general I tend to think of everything as just preparation for something else: digging the groundwork for the next thing.
Today is all about tomorrow.
According to top scientific research, a chap with my IQ should be trousering significantly in excess of my current monthly purse. This means that, by my own standards, I am under-performing.
In technical terms, I am an inefficient machine for turning ability into cash.
It’s not all about the money, but if we lazily assume that cash generated is a rough proxy for worth, then I’m not where I should be. In short, I’m made for better things than this, I just can’t seem to get there.
Work hard, go home hard
It’s not idleness. I work hard, and I like to work. I don’t do the “play hard” side of it – after work I go home and collapse. I have no time for work which demands I have official fun on my own time. If commitment to the cause is best demonstrated by staying up late and drinking in a manly display of alcohol abuse then I’m better off working somewhere else. I work hard, then go home, wrapped in anonymity, book in hand, iPod in ear.
I’ll give you my best for the best part of the day, but then leave me alone.
I didn’t join the army. I thought about it – it’s one of those can’t-go-wrong career decisions, it can look great on any CV: it doesn’t bind you into any particular career path nor close any off. What put me off was the groupthink play-hard-ness. That and all the running they make you do.
Time for action
As I get older, I know that the time to make an impact is not always in the future. Today is at least as valid as tomorrow, probably more so if one applies the “bird in hand” theory. I often rue the many todays I’ve chucked away while giving greater priority to a generic fuzzy tomorrow.
I need to focus. I need to make my move. I need to make all those days of learning translate into something resembling performance now. All that time spent running down backstreets, exploring for the sheer hell of exploring, doing things for the sheer hell of understanding the impact: all of that needs to mean something more than just the time it gobbled up.
This post is not about my desire for money or status – although I’m not immune to the lure of either – it’s about feeling that it all should mean something. It’s about doing something worthwhile but also about the responsibility of achieving potential.
And now is the time. Today is today, it’s not just tomorrow’s yesterday.