Satisfying Career Goals through Public Television
I have a distinct memory from my junior year at Iowa State where my adviser asked "What are your workplace goals?" It wasn't a question I had ever been asked and certainly not something 21-year-old Pat had every considered. Everyone's been asked about their dream job or their career goals, but I had never heard the specific phrase of "workplace goals." Being someone who likes to reflect on interesting and unexpected encounters it took me a bit to come up with my dream workplace criteria.
See workplace doesn't mean employer. I could fire off a list of dream employers in a heartbeat, but that wasn't the question. Second, goal isn't the same thing as dream. Goals are things you work towards and achieve, dreams are things that magically happen, e.g. lucky happenstance. There's also the possibility of dreams turning into nightmares, whereas goals are personally crafted and continually rewarding.
After a minute of thinking out-loud about what makes me happy I came up with three things I cherish more than anything: creative, collaborative, freedom, and comfortable. My answers were much more verbose than four words, but those were the key words. I wanted to work somewhere that required me to be creative. A place where I could work with like-minded, good-natured people. An environment that gave its employees the freedom to design and carry out their own projects. And of course somewhere I could be comfortable spending the lion's share of my waking life.
Over the last decade those goals have been satisfied and gone unfulfilled to various degrees along the way in my career; however, I'm happy to report as of today all four goals are being met.
For the last six months I have been a Producer/Director at Iowa Public Television. Over that time I have learned to direct live television, become a regular director of the long-running Iowa Press, produced a celebrated sports feature and two segments for Iowa Outdoors, gone on shoots across the state, started a year-long project, and worked with a hoard of other creative professionals to make excellent (and personally rewarding) television.
No career move has been as satisfying as getting the job at IPTV. I've worked places where I shifted between different projects every day, was given virtually complete anonymity with projects, provided with the adrenaline rush of daily television, and collaborated with a crew of people who turned into some of my best friends, but none of them hit all of my workplace goals at the same time.
As anyone who has started a new job can attest, a common and reoccurring question is "How do you like your new job?" And while in the past that question has grown to be annoying, I've truly relished answering it these last few months. Time and again I have quickly answered "Next to marrying Marieta, best decision of my life." I have yet to walk out of the building with anything less than a smile on my face. There has yet to be a day where I sat down for dinner and vented about a bad day. I know that won't always be the case and as I am not immune to bad days, but at the moment I have nothing to complain about.
So to any students out there looking to the impending world of responsibilities, cubicles, and TPS reports I ask you to answer my ISU adviser's question; "What are your workplace goals?"