Messing With Mr. In Between
I have been reading with interest in Creator Magazine, and occasionally even making contributions myself, to the themes of innovation and entrepreneurship. I appreciate particularly my colleague Tim Sharp, executive director of the American Choral Directors Association, for his thinking and recent articles on the subject.
In reflexion, it comes to mind that applications thus far have been made toward work in hand, to jobs we actually have, or to others’ work that is assumed they have. I would like to move into a slightly different realm, to apply innovation and entrepreneurship to those intervals outside work in hand, to that time between jobs either by choice or by hard luck. I would also assume that during this time one wants to work.
Let’s play with some words. First, “Pro” is assumed here to have positive connotation, while “con” does not have that positive sense. “Ex” is understood from Dictionary.com to be “a prefix meaning ‘out of,’ ‘from,’ and hence ‘utterly,’ ‘thoroughly,’ and sometimes meaning ‘not’ or ‘without’ or indicating a former title, status, etc.; . . . .”
Thus, the “professional,” is not the same as the “confessional.” One does not become a “professional” through the “confessional.” To “confess” is the practice of asking for forgiveness, therefore returning to a condition without sin (at least for a moment or two). The professional “professes,” to be an “ex“-pert, to pursue “ex“-cellence. From our exercise this would mean that a professional is one who stands thoroughly out as the result of one’s past, declaring an excellence that is also in the rear view mirror. In the realm of job hunting is this who we really wish to portray?
A New Opportunity is About This Moment
A new opportunity is not effectively about the past, nor is it really about the future. It is about this moment, and who we have become and are at this moment. It is not sufficient to declare ourself to be professional, neither to be an “ex”-pert of past accomplishment. It is all about who we are at this moment. This is what we most effectively show when innovating a new opportunity, in searching for a new job. This is where innovation and entrepreneurship can be utilized between jobs.
Returning to another of my articles for a moment, St. Augustine was all over this idea. To Augustine, life is a dying life. We must die from one from chapter to passage effectively to the next. Further, nothing stands still in temporal life. Augustine says,“I look for a present moment, but nothing stands still. What I have spoken no longer exists. What I am about to say does not yet exist.”
I suggest that this is a very important notion when we move into the process of a job search. It has significant ramification on how we build our resumé, and what we write in our cover letter. Are we the applicant who professes the past, or even confesses mistakes of former endeavors? Are we the applicant who professes how we will change history in an organization, even ignoring that such history exists? –Hopefully not.
We have an opportunity in this period between jobs to understand who we have become, what our true core values are, and what skills have been built that now define our “ex”-pertise. Let’s looks at this process more as a job strategy rather than a job search. This is creative rather than routine. This is innovative rather than formula. This is in the moment.
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