Perspective changes how we see everything in our lives. This is one of those generalizations we all know to be true, but I don’t think we really process how this affects the way we view our jobs and lives. I’ve recently had two very different experiences that I wanted to share with you, and both have perspective at their core.
This week, I lost a very close friend to cancer. She was the most courageous person I have ever met and had an amazing career. Even after being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, she took a high level job at Thompson Reuters. Two months ago, she was promoted to Global Head of Communications. I was very fortunate to spend time with her during her 4-year battle, where she never had more than a few weeks break from chemotherapy. My friend would always speak about how being at work gave her purpose and kept her mind from thinking about how bad her situation was. I loved spending with her because she never complained or asked “Why me?” Her positive outlook and passion for work and life gave me great perspective.
The second “perspective” situation occurred last Friday night. My 14 year old daughter volunteers at a program called SPARC, which provides programming for young adults with developmental challenges, most of whom are autistic. The evening’s events vary from doing art projects to juggling classes. Last Friday was career night. Many of these young adults have jobs like stocking shelves and taking movie tickets. My daughter told me that she asked the participants in her group, “What is your dream job?” I was stunned when she told me how most of them responded: They said, “I already have my dream job!” What astonished me was how much they appreciated the opportunity to work and be of value. This made me think about was how rarely I have heard someone say, “I have my dream job” – and I have interviewed more than 10,000 people over the past 25 years! Is it that we don’t have great jobs, or that we always think, “There must be something better out there?”
I think we live in a culture that sends constant messages of “never enough.” If we really understood that this is the perspective coloring how we view our lives and jobs, we might choose to shift our perspective, at least a bit.