Sunday, June 7, 2009

Launch yourself into something new - like space boy

How much fun are you having at work? Or does "fun at work" seem like an oxymoron to you? For me, I've found that the most fun I can have at work is to really launch myself into something new and exciting. Think about what you would get excited about learning - and then GO FOR IT.

Go for it the way a three-year-old goes for it when he gets turned onto something new. Until three weeks ago, my son knew virtually nothing about space. Then we got him one of those silly Magic School Bus books where the school bus flies around space. Next thing you know, he's pulling the World Almanac down off the shelf and asking me to help him read the list of space missions. So we get a couple of more books, and now he has taught me all about the 11 planets (including dwarf planets Pluto, Eris and Ceres, you know, right?), the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud. Then yesterday we had to go to the grocery store to get various fruits with which we could estimate the scale of various planets. And when that wasn't adequate, we had to go get a real model of the solar system and a little constellation dome. Never once did it cross his mind that most three-year-olds, at least most of the ones that I know, don't feel the need to throw themselves into learning with quite this much gusto.

Sure, kids are all little sponges. So are we, or at least we have the potential to be. Who says you have to stop learning with passion once your job description is written down on a piece of paper? Don't be limited by what the job description says. For more about passion, check out the "More Cowbell" post from Narciso Tovar and "You Gotta Want the Ball" from Tom Martin.

Uh-oh - here comes the "I'm too busy" excuse; I have zero empathy for that excuse when I hear it from people who supposedly are interested in learning social media, and I have zero empathy for you if that is what you are thinking right now. I get it. You're busy. We all are. And I know that not everyone has the luxury that I have of an employer who gets it, too, and gives me the time to make it happen. But so what? No excuses. No surrender. Make learning a priority, even if it is for a short time each day. Your career is going to be a hell of a lot more fun - and more successful - if you do.

Have you found this to be true?


  1. Agreed! I always say that the day I stop learning is the day I stop growing is the day that I basically stop living. Make it a point to learn more than just the job description. Talk to the person in the office next door, downstairs, in the other building... if what they do interests you, then ask about it! The more we learn the further we can go...

  2. It seems most ad people seem to have one thing in common - a creative passion outside of the profession. I know a certian someone who went to photography school, another who secretly moonlighting at culinary school, etc. I think we are curious sorts by our wiring so learning about what we love can be easy and fulfilling, but the dedication to learning a constantly changing marketplace can take a hell of a lot of discipline to make it work. I consider myself challenged to do better this week.

  3. I'm interesting in so many things, but I haven't dug very deep on any one subject. Instead of knowing something about lots of things, I want to know everything of about one thing. Make sense?

    Thanks for the inspiring post, Sue.


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  4. Thanks for your comments guys. They mean a lot and are all really good thoughts. I do agree that agency people in particular have a high propensity for intellectual curiosity - though plenty of us make excuses, too. It's a lot easier to keep crossing tasks off the list than to spend an hour on a Sunday learning to muddle your way through blogging. And of course I slack sometimes, too. But I can honestly say that my professional life is much more rewarding since I committed to getting the deepest learning I could on social marketing last year. So, what's your Astronomy?

  5. What a great post Sue! It all comes down to attitude and the fact that no one is going to do it for you! There are plenty of opportunities to learn new things even if you're in an "old" job. Be creative, be gutsy, immerse yourself into new things all the time. You will never stop learning and having fun.

  6. nice post Sue. If folks think they are too busy to keep learning new things, well I guess they can take solace in knowing that one day they'll have plenty of time when they're unemployed. Today's markets are just too competitive to stop learning. In fact, I kind of riffed on this subject recently myself - funny how you and I still think alike after all these years ;-) and thanks for the shout out in the post.