Sunday, September 6, 2015

What You Love Doing is Who You Are

It hadn’t occurred to me until recently. What you love doing is who you are.

Perhaps it sounds a bit silly, but bear with me as I explain. You see, I’ve had a variety of careers, but all had one common thread that I enjoyed most.

My first job after I left school at 14 was as a boilermaker/welding apprentice. It was here that I learnt about spatial aspects of the many things boilermakers manufacture. One of my jobs was rebuilding underground haulage carts which were rectangular with two railway wheels on the bottom and a swing door at one end that was held at the top.

I’d get to work with an oxy-acetylene cutting torch and cut off the four sides leaving just the bottom with the wheels. Next, I would cut some sides from new sheets of mild steel plate and rebuild the cart, welding it at the seams.

I’d stand back and look at what a great job I had done. Corners were perfectly aligned, the top was straight and the welding looked superb. I’d feel a little surge of pride that I had done something so well - the symmetry appealed to me. I’d move on to the next cart.

In the police force, I was known for the quality of my written media; traffic accident reports, court briefs, administrative instructions, and Commissioner’s instructions to police.

When I began teaching, the first subjects I taught were typing and word processing. Both had to be taught to strict guidelines regarding spacing, layout, and typographical standards. They were very exacting and students were expected to produce work that was 100 percent correct - no typos, sound grammar, sound layout.

My typewritten work and desktop publishing had to be exemplars of what I taught. I couldn’t hold the students to one standard and have another for myself.

Thus, my penchant and perhaps obsession with producing excellent documentation.

Although I had been a boilermaker, police officer, adult educator, training manager, and head lecturer, what I loved most about all those jobs had to do with symmetry, style, grammar, design, and layout of documentation. While all the content within those occupations appealed to me, the documentation involved appealed most.

Now, after 51 years of full-time employment and never having been unemployed, I am retired but still do some of the things I love doing: documentation.

What I love doing - being a documentalist, is who I am.

What do you think is the real you?


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