“Having fun trying new things”

That’s how my friend (and MD) Jeff describes my job. Today he invited me to speak to a group that goes by the nome de nerd, “Geek Salad.” They meet with some regularity but I’m unclear on their raison d’être:

My friend Steve Mays works for Learfield Communications in Jefferson City will present for 20 minutes or so on “Having fun trying new things”. Steve has the enviable job (IMHO) of evaluating new technologies for his organization. And he’s effective and productive! He holds court at the Coffee Zone in Jefferson City on High Street most AM’s.

Is that really my job? Is that anybody’s job? Let’s just pretend that it is. I’m looking forward to meeting these folks and sharing some of my favorite Gadgets & Apps.

UPDATE 9/1/09: Had coffee and nice chat with the Geek Salad gang this morning. Bunch of smart doctors and university types at University of Missouri.

Screen shot 2009-09-01 at Tue, Sep 1, 1.17.40 PM

3 thoughts on ““Having fun trying new things”

  1. I am very fortunate, Charles, and try to acknowledge that every day. I believe I do understand that it is difficult, but I encourage young people to find work that is fun and meaningful (to them), whatever it takes.

    [20 minutes later]

    You comment (and this post) got me thinking about my job and how it came to be.

    First, I’m fortunate to work for a really good company with very smart people running it. And I’ve been lucky. But that isn’t very useful information.

    In the mid-nineties I got hooked on the Internet, and the web, since they were sort of two things back then. My job had very little to do with either but I was convinced that would not be true for long. So I spent every free minute playing around online. BBS, Compuserve, dial-up modems, etc. I Bought a book on Photoshop and worked through it, page by page (about 1,500 pages if I recall).

    This went on for years and it was all on my own time (nights and weekends). Somewhere along the way, I told my boss that I liked this kind of stuff and if the opportunity to do full-time came along, keep me in mind. It did and he did. I really didn’t have any sort of plan worked out, I was just teach myself some things that a) were fun and b) I assumed would be valuable … eventually.

    On the few occasions I’ve shared this with younger co-workers, the common response was, “Why should I invest my time on learning something new or some new project, unless I have some assurance it’s going to pay off?” Not an unreasonable question.

    As the web became more and more a part of every business, I had a pretty good jump on some of the skills and knowledge to take advantage of it. Eventually, this became my full-time job (which paid much less, by the way).

    At this point, I didn’t sit at my desk waiting for people to come to me with tasks or projects. I started going door-to-door within the company, asking if there were any problems I could help with. If I got a “yes,” I looked first to the web for a solution and, more often than not, I found one.

    So in effect, I created a new job for myself. Would my company have eventually said, we need someone to do this kind of stuff and hired someone? Eventually, but it probably wouldn’t have been me.

    And there was a good deal of luck involved. I happened to be at the right place at the right time. But looking back, I would advise: Don’t wait for the perfect job to find you. Figure out the perfect job and try to create it.

  2. Having fun and trying new things sounds like a great job description-and an even better rule for living.
    Wonder what sort of dressing one puts on Geek Salad?

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