Only People With Careers Can Answer YES! to these 5 Questions

Only People with Careers Can Answer YES! to these 5 Questions

QBQ, career, ownership, career path, love your work

A tall, white-haired fella stopped, smiled, and pointed at the center seat to my left. As I looked up at him—way up—I decided Tall Man was my inverse. I’m 5’ 6” and he had to be 6’ 5”.

Someone else may have offered this gent the roomier seat. However, with a 4-hour flight on the horizon, I decided to maintain ownership of my exit-row, aisle spot. Selfish me.

Tall Man signaled me to stay put and then stepped over me with ease. Moments later, the “Why were you in NYC?” conversation began …

I had presented “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” to 40 executives at a large credit union. Tall Man (I never did get his name) was an airline captain, caught between flights, catching a ride home to Colorado.

It wasn’t long before I determined that Tall Man hadn’t “worked” for years. How’d I know? Because he exclaimed this: “At 64, I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else. I don’t know what I’ll do when I have to retire.”

“Have” to retire? Huh. Sadly, most would say, “I can’t wait to retire.”

I knew then that Tall Man was special because he doesn’t dread Mondays, pine for Hump Day, or live for Fridays. When Tall Man flies he’s not really working, because Tall Man has a career and not a job.

Tall Man is a blessed man.

Do you have a career? Or a job? If you’re not sure, here are 5 questions people who with careers say “YES! to:

1. Am I doing what I was designed to do?

I was not created for an 8-5 desk job, though I tried it for 5 years. Never diagnosed with ADHD, I probably suffer with it. More accurately, my wife of 35 years has suffered—from my hyperactive, high-energy persona. Poor Karen!

I require a profession where I am out and about, set my own schedule, and can be “the boss of me.” At 27, I found all of that selling management training. I love to persuade, coach, teach, counsel, and advise—and my middle name is “tenacity.” Simply put, I was made to sell training.

2. Do I experience emotional wins when I succeed?

I’ve always compared closing sales to the victories I did NOT experience on the wrestling mat. When an executive signs a contract, it feels like my hand is being raised in the championship match! But just setting the first appointment with that executive weeks or months earlier caused me to feel like I’d won the quarterfinals. People with careers feel the rush, day in, day out. Do you?

3. Is time flying by?

There are clock watchers and there are calendar watchers. Does time stand still when you’re at work or do you often wonder, How did I get to be xx years old!? For people with careers, the years are cruising by at breakneck speed. I bet that Tall Man—who flies the friendly skies—would agree that time has flown by, too.

4. Do I add value to the world?

A drug dealer could answer our first three questions YES! but that drug dealer isn’t contributing to our world. One month into my career selling training, a client said, “John, I was going to quit my job, but because of the training you sold us, I’m staying put. Now I know what I’m doing as a manager and I’m loving it!” I knew then that my efforts were making a positive difference. Pretty cool.

5. Am I learning?

As it’s written in Outstanding!, we can “only coast in one direction.” People with careers report there’s always more to learn and they are always learning. For them, learning means being challenged and being challenged is A-OK with them!

So, do you have a career or a job? Which question above means the most to you right now? Comment below!

Follow QBQ! on Twitter using @QBQGuy.

Additional QBQ! blogs about “careers”: 

 4 Questions: Finding a Career You Believe In   ***   Loving What You Do!

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13 Responses

  1. A very nice post today John Jobs Versus Careers.

    Using all of your points 1-4 I would say, when we identify our purpose and interests, we generate significant enthusiasm and time flies by as we rejoice in the value of our work.

    I would also add that a career (versus a job) requires the continual development of new skills, knowledge and a constant focus on looking for better answers or solutions. There is always more to learn and we can use our new skills and knowledge to repeat the cycle all over again by—focusing our purpose enthusiastically as we become fully immersed in our commitment to adding value to the world.

    Fortunate are those who experience the deep meaning that comes with building a career.

    Keep up the great work John.


  2. Jim, thanks for the comment and helping me improve the piece! I initially had LEARNING in the blog, but lost it along the way in editing. So, thanks to you – I’ve added it back in and now we have 5 questions! Thanks much!

  3. I am a teacher, so I have a career! Yes to all 5 questions. Not worth the pay for some, but it is worth loving what I do. I am not complaining about the pay, because I knew going in that I would not make what I could in the “real world”. What do I make? I make a difference! Sounds corny, but it’s true.

  4. I am a claim adjuster and what stood out for me in your article is feeling emotional wins when I succeed. I feel such gratification when an individual who had a car accident thanks me for making the process go smoothly. They have a pre-existing idea in their head that dealing with the claim is going to be bad experience and I feel an emotional win when I can make a stressful situation not so stressful.

  5. John –
    In your post, I am struck by how much question #1 Am I doing what I was designed to do? resonated with my current journey. While I very much enjoy what I do, I am less passionate about the lack of accountability and responsibility demonstrated by the leadership of my current near billion dollar company and how that impacts the results I am asked to achieve.

    I recently (as in this past weekend) completed a professional coaching certification that I have been pondering for nearly 4 years. What I love about being a life coach is how I can help folks reach their dreams, goals, and desires by simply guiding them to actionable steps and bringing a level of accountability by keeping them honest with their commitments.

    Thanks for this timely post – I will take it as a sign from the Universe regarding my recent actions!

    Accountably yours,

  6. John, I’m glad I’ve taken time to post positive responses to several of your messages through the years, because I never want to be “that guy” who logs on only when he disagrees. …. I am disappointed that you did not offer the roomier seat to the guy who obviously needed the space more than you. He was facing the same four-hour flight that you were, and being “Tall Guy” was not his choice or his fault in any way. We “add value to the world” in the LITTLE things we do too.

    Having said this, I KNOW you know that. Nobody’s prefect 🙂 so let’s ALL learn a lesson and move forward with a renewed commitment in our hearts to make those little decisions that change the world. Love ya, John.

    1. Lora, you’re right … I failed! 🙂 But, with him being a pilot and me be the paying customer, I am just positive he would NOT have accepted such a generous offer from me! HA! 🙂

  7. Another great read, John! Thank you!

    For me, #2 resonates the most no matter what I’m doing and how many things I’m doing, which is probably why I find myself doing so many things at once. In addition to working for a nonprofit, I recently got involved with doing some insurance and now running for a local election once again. I’m not necessarily looking for just one career – I just like experiencing the victories that come in each of those areas!

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