career assessment and identity
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career assessment: what books tell you about yourself & your work 2

For a recent trip, I had to go out to the shed in my backyard to get a suitcase. It’s technically a garage, but here in SF, that can mean a lot of things. For me, it’s half-storage space, half-study. While I was in there, I happened to look at the books on my “I am reading/planning to read” shelf, and I felt a little bit of a lot of things: amusement, excitement, pride and, surprisingly, shock and dismay.

It’s time for a career assessment.

Because depending on how I took in the odd array of topics, I can either take the positive view: I’m an eclectic and curious man who is working on a lot of projects OR I can take another interpretation: I’m a flake with a severe case of ADD. As in all cases, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. But regardless, I do think that your books, if you look at them closely, can help you figure some things about career assessment, and  hell, it will probably help you figure out what type of person you are, as well, if you’re open to it.


On my book shelf, I have a book on screenwriting, a book on SEO, a couple novels, three SAT/ACT prep books, and a book about cinematography. What does it all mean? I have no idea. Obviously, I love film, though of all the books, the screenwriting book is my least interesting. There’s something too circumscribed about screenwriting. The structure seems to rigid to me, and really, I don’t like books about writing. I DO like reading book critics talk about and dissect works, but I don’t like how-to books about writing, because I’m not sure I believe in them. I kind of believe you learn by doing first, and then, you backtrack and get some help from others.

SO, again, if do a career assessment from this, I see two possible scenarios:

1. either I will never write anything good because I am too proud/arrogant/stubborn to learn from some expert who is trying to give me the keys to the writing kingdom


2. I will write something good because I figured out for myself, after much trial and error, what works for me and what doesn’t.

(Yes, I realize there are middle options, but let’s not go there.)

So where was I in my career assessment? Ah yes. I like film, and specifically, I love cameras and am inspired by the way skilled artists use them to tell stories in moving pictures. I like novels, for the same reason except that for the obvious difference that novels tell you stories with words. So, that’s pretty clear. I like stories. I want to tell them in different ways. All good.

But what’s up with that SEO stuff? AH, for those of you who do not know, it stands for Search Engine Optimization, which basically means I am learning how to not only write blogs, but to do so in a way that my wife is not the only one who reads this thing. (Hi, Chela. Love you!) The SEO stuff is also something I am trying to learn for work. As you know, this blog, at least sometimes, is a diary of my journey toward employment satisfaction. I am a teacher, which is why I have the prep books, and I love teaching. But as you know, living in the land of tech has taught me that hard lesson: teaching don’t pay. SO, I am leaving that job. Check out this post if you missed my explanation why this is so. It’s a sad story. But it is also full of opportunity if I get my head out of sad butt.

So, I guess it makes sense. People are not monoliths. They are complex–mosaic in nature, made up of disparate things. I hope this is what my books are telling me, though I will admit that I have a trunk load of philosophy books on another shelf, and in those I learned that one can make an argument for any crazy thing if you just try hard enough.


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