I have the world’s greatest job. I’m often asked by students how they can be me. Actually, it’s seldom that blatant, but the other night I was speaking to a group of organizational psychology graduate students in San Francisco and one young woman asked, “How can someone get to where you are?” She meant, of course, how to get into this field and do coaching and leadership development.

After my typical disclaimers, I told her and her colleagues about how I got to any of the places I’ve reached in my life. In the course of the conversation, it dawned on me that I was the world’s worst career planner and should never give anyone advice. However, it might be useful to hear how I managed to have several of the most interesting, fulfilling jobs I could never have imagined.

Quite simply, I’ve never planned anything career-wise. Instead, I’ve had a firm grip on what matters to me — what would nowadays be called my values, along with a highly developed sense of curiosity and an unhealthy devotion to new experiences. There are doors opening before us all the time. I decided some time ago to go through any door that appeared interesting and was consistent with my values.

I can’t recommend it to anyone else. It’s undoubtedly a completely bad approach for most people (especially those who are convinced that their younger self was as smart as they are going to get), but it worked for me.

As I mentioned, I have the world’s greatest job. Every job I ever had was the world’s greatest job, even though they’ve all been different.

Have you ever had an unexpected job experience that turned out to be a career booster?

– Doug Riddle

(photo credit Kriss Szkurlatowski)

6 thoughts on “Career Advice Not Worth Taking

  1. Mike Cook says:

    I know your title is tongue in cheek but I am just as interested in how we can get a larger portion of the population to consider this way of living than worrying about where to get the best deal on a 12 pack of Ice House.
    What’s your take on that? Preaching to the choir may be a quick high but doesn’t really change much.

  2. Mike Cook says:

    I know your title is tongue in cheek but I am just as interested in how we can get a larger portion of the population to consider this way of living than worrying about where to get the best deal on a 12 pack of Ice House.
    What’s your take on that? Preaching to the choir may be a quick high but doesn’t really change much.

  3. Many of the top CEOs that I work with all sing to a simular tune. “Work hard, do a great job and the world will open doors for you even when you aren’t looking. Don’t be so focused on moving up…be focused on being great where you are and you will move up!”
    I recently wrote a little bit on going back to school in the current economy. Do you think this is a good plan for people?
    http://iopsychgirl.blogspot.com

  4. Many of the top CEOs that I work with all sing to a simular tune. “Work hard, do a great job and the world will open doors for you even when you aren’t looking. Don’t be so focused on moving up…be focused on being great where you are and you will move up!”
    I recently wrote a little bit on going back to school in the current economy. Do you think this is a good plan for people?
    http://iopsychgirl.blogspot.com

  5. Kriss says:

    Hi,
    nice to see my image on your blog!
    Bests
    Kriss

  6. Kriss says:

    Hi,
    nice to see my image on your blog!
    Bests
    Kriss

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