Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The challenge of too many interests

Have you ever felt like a Jack or Jane-of-all-trades, master of none? It's a problem for many of my clients. We (yes, I include myself) can often feel like our multiple interests are a problem, causing us to feel scattered and unable to focus in our careers.

I often hear my clients lamenting: "If only I could stick with one thing...If only I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up...If only I didn't have so many interests..." If this sounds like you, don't fret any longer.

Being a person with multiple interests is actually a benefit to your career. Why? Because having many interests makes your more adaptable in the fast changing world of work we now live in. The key is to embrace your interests and manage your career so that you get the variety and change you crave.

To get ideas of how others are creating careers that fit all their interests, here are two very helpful resources I've found:

--One Person, Multiple Careers by Marci Alboher
--The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine

There's no need to bounce from one career to the next. Contact me if you're unsure how to create your ideal career at coaching@maggiemistal.com.

And let me know if you feel you're a person of many interests. Have your many interests helped or hurt your career?


KB said...

Maggie - I believe we have to be careful to not confuse "interests" with "skills." Many hardcharger, Type A personalities have enjoyed success as a result of a broad skillset and the ability to do well in a variety of settings. These folks will do well, regardless of whether they are interested in something. This success sometimes breeds complacency and the feeling that your interests lie where you have skills and have succeeded. Being good at sometthing and doing well doesn't necessarily translate to liking what you do. The challenge, I find, is being able to identify your true "interests", without letting your past successes cloud, or limit, that search. In short, success and skills do not equal "interests." It is very easy to fall into the trap thinking they are one in the same. In order to be truly fulfilled, I believe you need to first recognize your "skills" and then apply them to your true "interests." Just a thought!

Maggie Mistal said...

Good point KB! Perhaps Jack or Jane-of-all-trades is not quite accurate. Rather Jack or Jane-of-all-interests! Thanks for the comment.

CoachPaige said...

Maggie...I am a typical "rainbow" person. I can see how for some it could hurt their career. For me it has done just the opposite. I have a great relationship with my director and I have made my interests and skills quite clear and goals for my position. I have been given opportunities to do things that were not in my original job description. I am quite pleased!

Maggie Mistal said...

Nice work Paige! By being assertive you've been able to incorporate your many interests into one job. I'm glad to hear that you have a director who is supportive too. Smart managers recognize that to keep great employees like you, they need to keep you interested and engaged in your work. Thanks for sharing!