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« Gifts, misunderstood | Main | A sad truth about most traditional b2b marketing »

Archetypes at work

What are you, what do you want to be? When you're being your best self at your job, what are you doing? Here's a partial list:

Farmer--repeatedly and patiently optimizing the production of goods for sale, worrying about the weather

Hunter--tracking prey, balancing patience with bursts of energy

Gardener--pruning for beauty, growing enough to sustain yourself

Servant--"yes, sir"

Architect--creating a platform for others to work in or on

Nurse--healing (in any sense) other people

Shadchen--connecting others, making a match

Impresario--inventing out of nothing, putting on a show and selling tickets

Conductor--coordinating, leading and shipping

Trader--buying low, selling high

Artist--seeing the world as it is, shipping gifts

Receptionist--greeting all with a content-free smile

The movie star--admired (and bizarrely, respected) for being famous and beautiful

The professor--solving interesting problems

and Mary Ann--the simple farm girl with a heart of gold (sorry, Gilligan, I got carried away)

Of course there are many jobs that include elements of more than one archetype. Deep down, though, you've probably been trained, conditioned or persuaded that one (or perhaps a combo of a few) of these work missions is just right for you.

It's interesting that the most common (in terms of jobs available) is by far the servant, and just about all the others require an insane amount of personal responsibility and initiative. Just because you work on a farm doesn't mean you're a farmer--not if someone else tells you what to do all day.

Worth noting: very few jobs match the archetypes they share a name with. Nurses, for example, don't get to spend much time at all doing actual nursing. If an archetype calls to you, don't be fooled by a job that appears to match it but doesn't.

You can change what you do if you choose to, but not if you keep seeking out the same archetype.

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