Monday, December 11, 2006

Mid-life Career Self-Analysis

I've been lucky to have had a pretty darn tootin' career.

From being one of the first five members of what eventually became known as Disney Interactive (it was called Walt Disney Personal Computer Software back then when the five of us shared a little attic-like space in the "Hyp-movation" building in Burbank) to associate producing a pretty cool little early math game called Carnival Countdown for Edmark (before it was bought by IBM, The Learning Company or Riverdeep), to designing the Blue's Clue's learning games, Blue's Treasure Hunt Adventure and Blue's 123 Time Activities, to what I consider the pinnacle experience: executive producing and product managing my "babies" -- two four-video series focusing on the teen issues of self-esteem, body image & the media, healthy eating & activity, stress, and positive activism (or as I called it, "righteous indignation"!). The past 26 years have been amazing for me and I have both counted my blessings and pushed the boundaries of workaholism during that time.

But the educational media arena has changed drastically over the years and now it's time for me to take stock, re-evaluate, and ask myself which career road I want to travel from here. And I figure that if I delve into all this now, I can somehow leave for Hawaii feeling "cleansed" in a sense, and leave my career woes on the Mainland.

So welcome to my self-analysis session. I'll show myself to the couch; you can make yourself at home anywhere you please. I'm much better at dialog than monologue, though, so please feel free to interject with any comments, questions or suggestions!

Let's begin, shall we?

What kind of work do I love to do?

  • Sheparding projects (programs, products) from inception to completion
  • Mentoring people and inspiring teams (Yes, I'm a "people person")
  • Organizing tasks (but only if they make sense to me, not "just because")
  • Working in the education arena, preferably with kids (from pre-school to high school... love 'em all!)
  • Writing/expressing, designing and creating
  • Work that does good and changes the world in some small, but real way

What am I indifferent about?

  • Budgets (though I have plenty of experience with them)
  • Technology (Yes, this is true... even though most of my products have been "high-tech," my inspiration has come from the content more than the format. I'm more "teachy" than techy and more people than programming-oriented)
  • Things. Put me with people, not with things!

What work would I refuse to do?

  • Work that forces me to go against my values and ideals
  • Work that includes large amounts of math (other than basic budgets and timelines)
  • Work with mean or persistently negative people
  • Illegal stuff

What do I excel at?

  • Communication -- via writing, dialoging, team-building, mentoring
  • Left-brained endeavors that are creative, subjective, and inspiring
  • Product design and development -- from curriculum design to media production to character development to peripheral development
  • Planning and carrying through

What am I mediocre at?

  • Mediocrity! (Once I start something, I almost always do it with full passion and commitment)
  • Paperwork and busywork (Mindless crap)
  • 8 - 5
  • I'd probably be a mediocre sales person -- unless it was for something I really believe in -- and then I'd ROCK!

What do I suck at?

  • Work that I see no purpose to
  • Isolation
  • Science, math and engineering

OK, I feel better now. More resolved? Hmmmmmm... perhaps. I'll ponder it on the beach in Maui and get back to you...

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