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We should move away from very fixed functions and sculpt jobs based on the strengths of an individual employee. Not only that,  we should help people to sculpt their careers along the lines they feel they have to follow. People are the owner and sole responsible for their career. They are the sculptors of their career and by extension of their life.

The Kiss

The Kiss, by A. Rodin can be viewed in Tate Gallery. It was a momentous piece of work in the career of Rodin

The idea of planned and pre-formatted careers is obsolete and the sculpting may be serendipitous. Let’s not assume that one can predict all of it. It’s like the sculptor who discovers the statue within the stone, piece by piece.Most sculptors do not know what the sculpture will be. It’s like an invisible hand that guides the hands that handle the hammer and the chisel. So is the basis of a career shere coincidence?
The sculptor has to take decisions as the stone reveals itself in all its (im)perfection. Everyone has to take decisions.Look at your own career. How many jobs did you have until now? What did you do to acquire those jobs? How much did you have to learn? Which habits did you need to un-learn? Did you predict at the start of your career where you would be now?  Did you take less obvious routes to get here? Did you take the easy way, or were you prepared to do difficult things that required personal commitment and some sacrifices? How conscious were you about the decisions that you took? Can you explain – with hindsight – how the career step contributed to your current market value?
As you sculpt your career you are sculpting your self. Like the sculptor you polish, you cut, you chisel*. And you take into consideration the nature and state of the rock you start with. The funny thing is that the sculpture can never add something. So if he inadvertently breaks of a part, he cannot restore it. He can hide it, he can integrate the error into the sculpture, or he can stop and start over again. If he wants to add a piece he has to use other means like an iron rod, or glue. We all start off with a stone. The stone is a given. And we can carve out of that stone a sculpture that takes advantage of the qualities of the stone. It requires skill to do so, and we all make mistakes. So the sculpture will never be perfect. But it can be beautiful. And worthwhile.
*to chisel also means to cheat or to swindle, obtain by deception. Some people do that too.
Check at Tate Gallery  for more info on the statue of Rodin.

David Ducheyne is the founder of Otolith. As a former HR and business leader he focuses now on humanising strategy execution.

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