At the last LPJC meeting, one of the things about building a career that Scott Killen spoke about was “finding your passion”. What is it that gets you excited? What do you enjoy? Doing what you enjoy, doing things that excite you, that you are passionate about, that motivate you, will showcase you to others in your best light and open you up to opportunities.
What is it that excites me? Recently I discovered (or re-discovered) that, for me, helping others is one of my biggest passions.
My most successful project in my career was the two years I spent working at IBM. I was brought in to rescue a failing project, where the consulting firm originally engaged to create a solution for the department’s challenges had skimped on gathering requirements, and consequently had delivered a “solution” that was unworkable. I spent the first three months I was there gathering requirements – talking to the users of the tool I was to create, understanding how they worked now, the challenges they were trying to meet, the goals they had. In the end I delivered a tool that was usable, met their needs, and was flexible enough to grow and change with their needs. Some of the people who complained the loudest about the original tool became my biggest boosters, working to keep me on the project when the consulting firm I was working for got cut as an IBM vendor, even writing me glowing reference letters after the project was concluded. But the best thing about it was what those actions represented – happy users, people for whom I had made a difference.
Not too long ago, Kathy Lansford at LPJC needed some help setting up the meeting space on Fridays. I just happened to be awake and checking my e-mail on the evening that Kathy sent out the help request. So I decided “what the heck” and volunteered. After all, hadn’t Kathy reminded us nearly every week that we should get out and volunteer? So that Friday I helped out, and, during the process, started to answer questions from first-time attendees, which morphed into a large part of what I now do every Friday, which is to greet new people and help them get to where they need to go, get signed up on the mailing list and find the information they need, and most of all provide friendly encouragement and help for people who are feeling lost and scared.
My family and friends have noted to me that I have come across as almost evangelistic about LPJC, but really what they are seeing is my passion shining through. I get the opportunity to help people during a difficult and scary time. And it makes a difference in my life too.
And this is one of the things that makes me entheusiastic about SharePoint. Done right, SharePoint makes things better – collaboration with co-workers becomes easier, business processes can be streamlined and automated, communication is improved and users are empowered. It fits in my technical background, it matches my soft skills (lots of requirements gathering if you want it done right!), but most of all, it matches my passion – making other people’s lives better.
So… What’s your passion?
(Up next on Working It Out, a review of Storage Considerations for SharePoint)
Jim Adcock is Vice President of Launch Pad Job Club, an organization in Austin, Texas, whose mission is help people who have lost their jobs to get the skills they need to land their next job, and to help them cope with the interim between jobs. Check out other career-related entries.