Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"How to Avoid a Mid Life Crisis"

"How to Avoid a Mid Life Crisis"
By Professional Development Chair Taylor Paton
There aren’t many 20 something year olds I know of who have contemplated a possible mid life crisis, that is, I didn’t know many before meeting Steve Langerud last weekend. Principal of Steve Langerud and Associates, LLC and DePauw University’s Director of Career Development, Steve had some interesting insight on how to find a sense of meaning in your career. In order to find your sense of meaning, ask yourself “Where can you do what you do well and care most deeply about?”
Most of us are asked what we want to be when we grow up from the time we can talk. For me, I told my mother at the age of two that I wanted to marry a bald guy who drove a bus. So when Steve said many of our truest ambitions stem from those first conceived career paths, I was a little confused. However, I gave him a shot and found that by asking “where” before “what” will ultimately lead to a career down I path I cleared myself. Self-reflection on your skills, the issues and people you want to work with, and the type of environment you want to work in will give you the ultimate job description perfectly tailored to you.
Now where do you find this mystical job that you just dreamed up? Ask my future bald bus driver husband… just kidding. You will have to find this job by getting out and talking to people. They will ask you what you want to do and you will tell them where you are going. Tell them the skills you have, the issues and people you want to work with, and the environment you want to work in. Steve calls this your “Ten Second Statement.” Chances are the person you are talking to may know someone who does something similar to what you want to do. Ask for that person’s information and see if it is, in fact, what you want to do.
Gone are the days of career paths laid out for you. The biggest take away from Steve’s presentation: Find someone who will pay you for what you love to do (Similar to Confusious’ quote, “If you choose a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”). And that, ladies and gents, is how you will avoid a mid life crisis.
Visit Steve’s website to find out about him, read his blog, and even send him an e-mail at http://stevelangerud.com/. Also, Depauw University also has a great page devoted to Steve called “Meet Steve:” http://www.depauw.edu/news-media/latest-news/details/24107/.
Afterword: This blog was in no way meant to harm the feelings of bald guys and/or bus drivers and/or bald guys who drive buses. Steve was somewhat right about my childhood career plans translating to my current ambitions. I plan to work in city management addressing issues of fiscal sustainability for the greater good of citizens, thus allowing bus drivers, even bald ones, to keep their jobs.

Editor's note: Taylor also serves as the Chair of PFA's Women in Public Finance Committee.