08.07.12

body of work

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:18 pm by Administrator

today i interviewed two candidates for an administrator position. what was interesting for me is that the interviews were back-to-back, and they were each over an hour long. the experience allowed me to see immediate contrasts between the candidates. but i won’t get into that.

the candidates were middle-aged people with lots of relevant experience, and their body of work was extraordinary. both of them demonstrated a lot of insight, and their self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses was impressive. in short, these were two people who were very good at telling me the stories of their lives, and i was very moved by their journeys. in the end, i really did come to believe that both of these people can succeed at whatever career pursuit they devote themselves to.

interviewing people like this does change my perspective on myself. compared to these two candidates, for instance, i’m really young. and it’s not simply on account of my age. the candidates have decades of experience with success, failure, difficult relationships, and breaking new ground. their paths into management have profoundly shaped them, in ways that have made them uncommonly skilled at leading others. while i understood many of the insights they shared with me, i recognized that what i was understanding as a concept was something that they have come to understand as core identity. in other words, they’ve earned their wisdom. they’ve earned it by sticking it out, living life, and surviving to tell the tale. this is something i just haven’t earned yet. in most areas of my life, i’m really just a newbie.

one thing i can’t fail to recognize about my life is how little my social circle includes mentors of greater experience and wisdom. i’ve remarked on this before, but i think that my previous entries on this were largely driven by my frustrations with my own ignorance or failures. today, i’m looking at the importance of older role models through a different lens—a more objective one. there are people out there who just know a heck of a lot more than i do about everything, and it’s because they’ve lived more life than i have. it doesn’t make sense for me not to seek them out, if only to avoid needless mistakes and suffering. and yet, when i look at the group of people that i regularly interact with, i have no one who fills this role in my life. and i think that’s partly because i have marginalized (whether consciously or unconsciously) the older members of my social circle. because they have less in common with me, i consider them less relevant. and this is ironic, when i consider the fact that in my work environment, i would sooner entrust my colleagues to the care of an elder than i would to someone of my experience and tendencies.

i don’t know how much longer i have to live, but here’s the funny fact that i must reckon with today. i’m just beginning my career journey. every couple of years, it seems, i want to derail my life and start over. i think about quitting and trying something new. but my pastor points this out, as has my friend Won Ho. i give up too easily. and people who move around and try new things all the time don’t have the privilege of building a body of work like the two people i met this morning. they don’t earn the authority to apply some of life’s deeper lessons for the enrichment of others.

i’m reminded of something i heard in my mind at Sunday’s church service. i don’t know if it was God telling me this or my own soul. in any case, what i heard was this: “if these people don’t grow, then you will not grow; you will not receive blessing unless these people are blessed.” sticking it out with a company, or a people, or a church is a hard thing. sometimes it’s not even the right thing. but there are certain things you just can’t experience unless you do stick it out. and i’m reminded this morning that some of the things that i most value are the things you earn by sticking it out, by giving your life year after year to a people, and by reaping the fruit of that labor gradually and over time. life is a process. what we earn is a testimony. and what we give to the next generation is our story. it’s all we have in the end. it’s the only thing we take with us, to the next life

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