I oftentimes refer to my day job as my favorite hobby. On a daily basis I get to lead strategic initiatives for a technology consulting firm specifically in the area of patient engagement. One of my miscellaneous duties includes being part of the hiring process for new talent and future colleagues. One of my general managers said this to me about finding a good consultant:
“Look for people that are really passionate about their work and love to talk about it. Good teachers make great consultants.”
Over time, my hiring tasks have even moved over to our customers where I am sometimes tasked with helping them find digital marketers to handle the day-to-day management of the technologies we create for them. About three years ago I helped hire such a digital marketer for a customer, and it was then part of my job to help get her up to speed on the implementation of the marketing technologies we were working on for the customer. Over the course of many months, I taught her pretty much everything I know about how to engage patients using digital marketing technologies. It just so happens that I received a note from her a few days ago. It read:
I wanted to touch base with you and thank you! Thanks to you, I developed a great base of information about Sharepoint, content management, strategy and more. For the past 2.5 years, I’ve honed my skills and kept your recommendations in mind – “Be the bridge between IT and marketing/communications,” “Speak the language of IT on behalf of the user experience.”
I am moving on to a position where I’ll be managing digital projects and collaborating on strategies to integrate technology into their communication programs. I’m very excited! And I can honestly say I wouldn’t have this opportunity had it not been for you and the great training and inspiration you shared!
So when you’re having one of those days, one of those overwhelming, what-the-heck-am-I-doing days, know that your efforts really make a difference.
How to Make Any Job Great
It just so happens that the note couldn’t have found me at a better time. I’ve been overcoming my own personal struggles, and what a gift she provided by thinking enough of me to send it. Ironically, this note actually reminded me of jobs I have held in the past that, well, sucked. We’ve all had those jobs that we felt were sucking some light out of us. This was the case for me during the Great Recession. I worked with good people, but the downturn in the economy meant that I was taking on more and more responsibilities with absolutely no increase in pay. I also had this haunting sense that I wasn’t doing something that really mattered in the world. In other words, I was having difficulty finding purpose. Want to know where I found it? I found it in a group of more than 50 women that served as receptionists at my company’s retail locations. These were good women that enjoyed interacting with others but would likely continue to face difficulties in the job market in the future especially given where our economy was. I decided to ask my manager if I could take over the public relations program because I had an idea for how I could utilize this network of engaged women to not only help my company grow revenue but also to teach these women some valuable skills that would make them that much stronger in the job market in the future.
To help create meaning in my life, I created a formal training program where I taught these women both networking skills and local event planning skills. I was essentially transforming them into a public relations team. After our first training session, the women went out into their communities and created health fair events for local seniors (our target market). They networked with their local pharmacies. As the women learned new and better ways to do their work, they would share their ideas with me. I then served as a hub to then share those ideas out to the full network (always giving credit where credit was due). Together we turned this program into a low cost opportunity for our company during the Great Recession that had an (unbelievable really) ROI of over 1000%.
How Teaching Others Turns into Personal Profit
We all profited because of that program. These women now had marketable skills and successes to point to as they grew their careers. I had a smile on my face as I went into work during the most depressing economic environment of my lifetime. I then used those experiences to further lift me up as I pursued my MBA and went on to the career I have now. My career has grown to a point where, just earlier this week, I was charged with teaching a group of physician executives how to create habit forming technologies. I was a speaker at my industry’s largest conference this past March, and I will be delivering my second keynote address in a couple of weeks. I’ve come a long way, baby.
All of the lessons I get to teach, out in my career and on this blog, bring much value and meaning to my life in the form of new financial opportunities and the ability to help other women in my community grow as well. How great is it to know that finding meaning in any job is as easy as helping another person along in their journey? Here is a quote from Mark Twain before I send you on your way:
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
Go be great.