Why careers are complex

This past Christmas my family and I were visiting some good friends in Sudbury. On the way home, in the car, we were listening to the news. There we were, minding our own business, when, out of the blue, Aidan (my 8 year old) makes a profound observation: “The world is complex. I have a lot of questions about the world.”

I have spent the last couple of months digesting my conversation with Aidan. His statements are very much related to the work that I do with my clients. A lot of things clicked in my mind as I thought about Aidan’s observations.

“Careers are complex. I have a lot of questions about the world of work.”

When you start to understand the complexity of the world (and of careers), and learn to respect that complexity, you can work on responding with a sophisticated approach. I think we have "dumbed down" careers — we think that as long as we get a good education and work hard, we’ll live happily ever after. While there is some truth in this statement, we must remember that having a successful career is complex.

One of my clients has been involved in off-shore racing with 60+ foot sailboats. While he may have spent many hours on a Laser, it is not the same as a 60 foot racing boat. If he treated it like that, he most likely wouldn’t win any races. In the worst case scenario, he could even put his life at risk. As he respects the complexity of the sailboat, he is more intentional in his training and in his approach.

Now, that sounds to me like a much more successful strategy. I will chat next week about the questions to be thinking about related to the world of work.