I was going through some picture files on my phone and found one I had taken of a magazine article from a Self magazine entitled “The New Ambition”. Not sure why I kept it. Well, maybe I do. It is because I like asking participants to think about whether their careers are fulfilling and whether they feel great about it at the end of a week. I think if all is right with oneself, then being happy, creative and productive at work is less of a chore.

How I got into my original career in hotels was quite by accident. Or maybe not. A very good family friend had been appointed Director of Tourism. My father and I were watching the news when the announcement came on and he said to me “maybe that’s what you want to do.” I had been meandering through school, and was in the process of repeating Lower Sixth form. I told him “ok” and set about completing the necessary paperwork when the time came. Apparently, I used to like to cook and even wrote out menu cards which my mother – the family archivist – has kept to this day. 

After working in operational departments for most of the time I spent in hotels, I switched to Training & Development. That’s when I really came alive. I shouldn’t have been surprised at the feeling I got during and after delivering a training session or doing one-on-one training on the job. It was the same gratifying feeling I can recall very clearly to this day, about 36 years after it happened.

My mother in her usual wisdom sent my sister and I to my brother’s primary school to help his Grade 6 teacher at Summer School. Bob Marley’s son Ziggy was in the class. After a Math lesson just before recess, Ziggy didn’t understand a Math problem. I told him that if he stayed behind during recess, I would show him. That he did. As I went through the method, the look on his face when he ‘got it’ was just like they say about the light bulb going off. That feeling stayed with me, although it was suppressed since teaching was not a desirable career when I was at high school.

I know now that I care about ensuring that people have the right attitude, skills and knowledge to maximize their potential. Sometimes they resist, but I persist, for I know that one day, they will see the light.

Are you in a career you care about? Remember, life cannot be recaptured. Make it count. And be happy.