I believe that we should own the fruits of our labor and the assets of our creations. – Nipsey Hussle
In my post about hard decisions, I outlined a personal struggle that impacted my career path as an air traffic control specialist. The knowledge and skills developed were highly specialized assets with what seemed a limited number of employers. In fact, at the time there was only one: The United States Government.
Only the military assigned to to this specialty or a civilian employee of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) worked air traffic in the United States. Yes, there were a few private controllers such as Beech Factory, in Wichita, KS but only a few.
Even more specialized, the skills required at an en route center, where I was training, were only useful to the FAA. There were some opportunities abroad with the International Civil Aviation Organization, but as a U.S. citizen my opportunity lay at the FAA, where I was then employed.
This was one of the realities the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) used to make their case for going on strike for better pay: Since this was the primary place the skills we were developing could be employed, the FAA owed it to us. Never mind, we were getting paid by the FAA (e.g. the U.S. taxpayer from whence our funding came) while we were developing these very assets; knowledge and skills, that when completed were the equivalent to a four-year college degree.
Yes it was tough and yes, I had to bring all I had to the table and allow that something within to be pulled out, but I was getting paid for the privilege. I was grateful and honored and – scared.
Facing and Fighting Fear
Scared that this opportunity was my one and only shot at a great career. If I lost my job, what would I do? My husband had just completed a masters degree and was making plans to continue on to a doctoral program. His dreams and calling were on the line as well.
Our dreams were being threatened with derailment or at best, delay. Then there was the “fact” that the skills I had spent so much time and energy developing were useless anywhere else. Or were they?
Enter the book: What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles. I am not sure where or how I got the book, but once I had resolved to go against the flow of my colleagues, based on the values I held, I decided to begin preparing in case I needed to look for another job. This book provided information and perspective.
This book made me aware of gifts, talents, skills, knowledge and abilities supporting the job. It helped to to look deeper than the application of those assets, e.g. air traffic control. The information in this book helped me to see what I had gained in training and in all of my life experiences had value. More important: that it was transferable.
For instance, an air traffic controller:
- has the ability to quickly make life and death decisions based on known information with a high degree of accuracy.
- is able to form three dimensional pictures of the position of aircraft under their jurisdiction AND update that mental picture as aircraft moved though it
- gives clear, concise directions, ensuring what was said was received and understood by the person on the other side of the conversation
- is able to process large amounts of information, sort it out, distill it down, and take action, e.g. move the complex to the simple
to name a few.
Putting these attributes into this form made them marketable to another employer. I was not doomed, trapped nor a victim of other’s actions, choices or values. I was not a victim, period.
Fear vanished Even though looking for another job, dealing the changes and upheaval, even having to move would have been challenging. However, preparing for options on my terms within the realms I had control of made the potential transition less daunting.
The Personal Inventory – Innate Assets
Looking at the few skills above, I made a list of potential jobs like:
- A dispatcher for a airline, trucking company, the railroad or even law enforcement
- Law enforcement itself
- Coordination of emergency room activities
Or other like activities. I knew I could at least wait tables or be a short order cook while looking and/or training for another occupation. The personal inventory was, and still is, key. The truth is these assets were already mine to use as I desired. My part was to identify them.
Take Action Based on Truth
Putting one’s skills into this form is common today. It is looking at your day to day activities and experience, then listing the skills required to accomplish the tasks. In 48 Days to the Work You Love, Dan Miller outlines how to go through this process. But before you do that, it is important that you:
- Believe that you have all you need – yes you do!
- Purpose to discover and inventory the talents, gifts and skills you possess, THEN
- Inventory the resources currently at hand – They are not out of reach!
An Abundance of Help
There are countless (well it seems so) resources out there. A lot are free which enables one to try a particular mentor or program out before making a purchase. I use the public library for books, books on CD and other resources and I listen to pod casts.
These free resources help to find the right fit before purchasing. To be honest, simply implementing the free information available can get you well down the path of this segment of your Stonebridge journey. Start with these links:
This is the Meyers-Briggs a long-time standard. There is a tab to take a free version
This test is built upon the gifts listed in the Bible in Romans 12 – again free!
The next two cost. However, they not only measure your methods of doing things, but also how you relate to others. I personally have not taken these (yet) but they come highly recommend by people I trust. They are especially helpful for team interaction and when hiring people to ensure a good fit for the team and tasks at hand.
Having and updating a personal skills and assets inventory is valuable no matter what your current situation is. It is good stewardship of you!
What one action will you take this week toward forming or updating your personal assets inventory?