Sunday, August 14, 2011

Is your next or-ideal career in your genes?

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they bhave never failed to imitate them. - James A. Baldwin

"I felt that I had to be a carpenter... Bookkeeper ... Doctor ... Nurse
because that is what my mother/father did and I was urged to follow them but
I never really really like what I was doing ......"

Sadly this is true and replayed over and over. There are however stories of
those who had their career in their generic background only to discover
this later after trying another career that was unfulfilling.

I met just a person on our trip to Europe this past week and he was a star
example. We were on a river cruise from Germany through Austria (Melk,
Strasberg, Vienna) and ending in Budapest Hungry). On our river cries ship,
we connected with the Captain,Tom Durning. Captain Durning was the one who
had full responsibly for the ship, crew and 150 passengers. You could tell
he was in total control; he clearly was the leader (more about his
leadership in a moment).

Vikki and I had the opportunity to sit with the Captain to talk about his
ship, but the conversation turned to his career choice to be a riverboat
Captain (Vikki is the publisher and owner of Where To? Magazine and
Co-publisher of Capital Region Living magazine and she was on

I asked Captain Durning how he came to be a Ship Captain. He chuckled and
said "It didn't happen easily ...." The Captain proceeded to tell us that
both his mother and father were ship captains which in itself was a bit
unique to have both parents involved in this career which means long travels
and separation from family. The Captain himself is on the ship for 10 months
of the year away from his family. On this cruise he was able to bring along
his 17 year old daughter which was a treat for him.

The Captain shunned his parents advice but admitted he had a feeling the
career choice was right but heck, who, listens tom their parents at that
age! He went to university and studied accounting and began a nine-year run
at this. "I knew right away ... bad choice. .. but I stuck it out for many
years until I made the decision I should have years back and became a Ship
Captain which required years of training and experience. I love what I do
and could see me doing anything else".

The Captain's experience shows that sometimes your ideal career might be in
your genes and found in the wisdom of your elders. It is all about vetting
the career opportunity and perhaps accepting the advice or at least

Of course those in my business might feel differently about this and to a
degree, I can agree. We rely heavily on the science of assessments and the
process of discovery to help people identify their ideal career path(s).
While this works for most, there are those who just know what they should do
.... They just need to give themselves permission to do it, but it might
take a few attempts to do so like the Captain. He got it; he loves it and is
a fulfilled man.

His leadership style? The Captain believes that You cannot micromanage. This
creates a level of distrust among staff. He delegates and holds his team
responsible for their actions, and he leads by example.

His biggest challenge? "Finding the right people.....". I have heard that
many times before and our challenge in the US is the same in Europe.

I hope this is helpful and thank you for reading this. - Dan

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