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Challenge - The History Game

A column article, Mission: Professional by: Steven Savage

(This was originally published in a different form at my blog,www.fantopro.com, on November 23rd, 2009).

One of the important things about careers is that things change. Your vision for yourself and what you want to do has to deal with time, technology, and more - at times within a few years (or a few months)

At the same time, being aware of the history of what you do with your life is critically important. Industries, jobs, personal callings, etc. do not spring fully-formed from nothing. They have histories, often long histories, and understanding these is vital to your success and happiness. You can't create a blockbuster movie without understanding the early blockbusters (JawsStar wars, etc.), you won't be a successful sports writer if you ignore the successes of the past.

So your challenge this week is to play the history game.

Sit down and visualize your ideal career:

  • What does it involve you doing?
  • Who you interact with?
  • Where do you work?
  • What is your average day like? Week? Month? Year?


When you have that visualization in your mind, ask yourself this:

  • What would this career be like fifty years ago? How would the above questions change - or be the same? If you want to program video games today what would you have been 50 years ago - a person running a circus or sporting events?
  • What would this career be like twenty years ago? Perhaps if you want to be a novelist, a decade ago you'd have to face a world building a reputation with less presence on the internet - or could have established one earlier.
  • What would this career be like ten years ago? Perhaps if you wanted to be a rock star today things would have been different - or the same - in the era of the late '90s.


Next, let's think forward.

  • What will your dream career be like in five years? Your dreams of creating a manga may move completely online.
  • What will your dream career be like in ten years? Perhaps your hope of voice acting will be squashed by synthesized voices - or supplemented by becoming a motivational speaker.
  • Now, go all out. What will your dream career be like in twenty years?


These exercises help you think about the past foundations of what you do, how things change - and how they might change. They help you understand the past and think of the future.

For me? These are pretty insightful. My careers are ones of media and communication, which have changed radically and continue to change - and have passed through various fads and strange times. But some of this is personal, so I'll leave you to your own explorations . . .

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