12 Questions for Career Mindfulness: #3 What things did you love as a child that explains how you work today?

mcgyver-paperclipWhat things did you do or love as a child that explains how your work today? This third question is meant to help you discover any tendencies or pre-dispositions that you have had as a child that now surface in your career. Surely, there must be clues we leave as children, showing our parents what we may be when we grow up. I’m not sure playing Winnie the Pooh, Legos, or Barbie explains my healthcare technology career.

When I reflect on my childhood, I remember having an amazing collection of toys. A few things stand out for me. I loved my Barbie doll collection. I had all the dolls, all the clothes, the accessories, and cars; you name it, I had it. My “thing” was my way of organizing all of these Barbie accessories. I never lost a shoe in a pair of little Barbie shoes. I had little boxes like empty check boxes to store my Barbie shoes. I always kept the clothes neat and organized. My dolls each had their own case, which was always properly packed after playtime.

A Clean, Meticulous Smart Lemming

2nd grade is the year that I realized that I didn’t like a messy environment. The inside of my desk is clean and organized. My Barbie doll collection and accessories are neatly organized in empty Key Bank check boxes, storing your Ken and Barbie shoes. My school box is organized with my pencil, eraser, and other school supplies perfectly placed in the box. In fact, all my toys are neatly organized and stored. I quickly learn that neatness means everything has its place and is more efficient.

poohFavorite Stuffed Animal + Bike + Rope + Elastic Belt = Hours of Play

This is also the time when I learned to be resourceful like MacGyver. My fondest memory of being a MacGyver was when I figured out how to take my Winnie the Pooh stuff animal biking with me. All I needed was my old baby doll stroller, an elastic-waistband belt, and rope. I placed Winnie the Pooh in the foldable baby stroller. I secured Pooh in the stroller with the elastic belt. I used five feet of rope to tie the stroller to the seat of my bike. Once I determined the correct length of rope and that the knots were safe, Pooh went for a ride with me behind my bike up. I biked up and down the street with Pooh in tow.

vintagelegoAt an early age, I demonstrated a love of building things. I was constantly playing with my brother’s Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys. My passion is Legos. My Lego buildings were always symmetrical, pleasing to the eye. Using color conservatively, I used a monochromic approach to the Lego design of my buildings. While I didn’t know it yet, this would be a constant theme in my life, since bold color schemes aren’t pleasing to me. I will always use monochromatic themes in personal style and building websites.

I’m exactly like this today. I love organizing, mostly so I can find things. My library of 1,500 books has its own system, so I can easily find specific books. My desk is always optimized for workflow. A little mess always makes me feel chaotic and unproductive. While I’m sure I have obsessive-compulsive tendencies, the things that I loved as a child are still with me today. I have confidence that in a pinch, I’ll be able to disarm a nuclear missile with a paperclip.

What things from your childhood are still with you? How do they explain how you work? How can use the strengths from your childhood as an adult worker today?


12 Questions for Career Mindfulness Series

The 12 Questions for Career Mindfulness Series reflects on twelve questions to help you reflect about the course of your career. Perhaps once you see your answers, you’ll see patterns or maybe you won’t. These questions conjure up memories of jobs that may still create some undercurrent of discomfort. I hope some questions validate your strengths or your weaknesses, while some questions provoke a memory that you thought you forgot.

  1. How was the first day of your last job? How was the last day of your first job?
  2. If you wrote an email to yourself on attitude adjustment, how would it read?
  3. What things did you do or love as a child that explains how your work today?
  4. Write about a phone call that changed everything in your life.
  5. Write about the book that changed everything in your career.
  6. If you could ask a former boss a question you wanted to ask, what would that question be?
  7. Have you experienced a painful loyalty?
  8. What happened on a workday that was different?
  9. How did it all go wrong so fast?
  10. What if you didn’t get that job?
  11. What is the elephant in the room?
  12. What if you finally get to do what you always wanted?

I’ll post one question on career mindfulness per work day for the rest of June 2009. For previous entries in this series, click here.