Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Close
Home > Audio, Podcast > The answer lies somewhere in-between

The answer lies somewhere in-between

March 7th, 2008

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Listen: The answer lies somewhere in-between

Career Opportunities podcast logoThe answer lies somewhere in-between
by Douglas E. Welch, career@welchwrite.com

Another Little League season begins here in Los Angeles and my son is joining his fifth team. It would be overstating the fact to say that I enjoy this time of year, but I do support my son in doing something that he enjoys, even if I don’t enjoy all aspects of it. One great benefit I receive, though, is the opportunity to observe people and how they interact in this microcosm of the world.

Looking back over the last several years, I have mined my time at the baseball field for a number of different essays I have published post the last home run of the day. You might question how career discussions can rise out of a kid’s game, but I often find that parts of our lives can illuminate the issues we find in our careers. For me, life and career are inextricably linked.

One observation I make each season is the level of commitment you see among the adults involved in Little League. While there is certainly an almost infinite range, I find 3 basic levels usually occur. First, there are the folks who are participating for the sheer fun of it. While, as our current coach says, “winning is fun, too”, they play for the camaraderie and excitement. You typically find this type of person in the early years of Little League, when the level of play is limited by the basic abilities of the kids.

At the other extreme is a group I call the “at any cost-ers”. As you progress through the years of Little League you start to encounter more and more people of this type. To them, winning is not only everything, it is the only thing. As you might imagine, I have a difficult time dealing with people like this as I have witnessed some horrible behaviors that I don’t think should be seen by kids or adults. I am sure you have encountered people like this in your life and work, too. In typical, “ends justifies the means” style, they will do nearly anything to get the sale, the raise or the promotion. More troubling though, is that they don’t hesitate to tear down others to build themselves up. These are the same parents and coaches berating children for a missed play instead of correcting them.

As you might imagine, it is when these two groups interact that the most friction is bound to occur. It is only natural when two extremes are brought into such close contact. The extremity of their positions allows them no understanding of each other and in a situation like that tempers can easily flare.

As you might imagine, it is when these two groups interact that the most friction is bound to occur. It is only natural when two extremes are brought into such close contact. The extremity of their positions allows them no understanding of each other and in a situation like that tempers can easily flare.

Now, of course, in your job you don’t have the luxury of doing it only for the fun, so you probably fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. In fact, this is where you should always aim your career…more than just mildly interested, but not so driven as to jeopardize your ethics in the sole pursuit of the dollar. It can be a fine line to walk and I am sure you deal with people everyday who seem to have no idea there is a line to begin with. That said it is important that you find your own path that skirts the more dangerous edges. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t “take a walk on the wild side” on occasion, but constantly living at the extremes has its own cost and can quickly reduce your effectiveness in your work and happiness in your life.

While I call for some sort of balance, there are others who decry the notion of balance between your work and life. They seem to fear a society of Milquetoasts (see http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Milquetoasts) where no one seeks to create anything new or try anything outside the norm. Instead, I see balance as a cyclical pattern alternating between extremes, but then retreating to some stable middle ground. This allows us to reach out for new concepts without trying to live every day at those extremes. Living at the extremes can prove to be a very lonely life and, for me, true adventure and true creativity require the presence and assistance of others. Despite our forays into the wilderness of the extremes, ideas – at home, at work or on the ball field – are best brought to fruition somewhere in-between.


Join me on these networks:

Douglas on MySpace | Douglas on Facebook | Douglas on LinkedIn

Become a Facebook Fan of Career Opportunities


Support Career Opportunities:

One time:


Monthly ($2):














iTunes Review | Career-Op Forums | Digg.com | Podcast Alley | Reader/Listener Line @ 818-804-5049

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Categories: Audio, Podcast Tags:
Comments are closed.
Google+