On what you do and what you care about

I am still in Kiribati for work with AusAID.  I can report, as I have stated in my twitter feed, that the project is going well.  I am working with an independent consultant on the Kiribati Education Management Information System project.  We are reviewing and evaluating the project, especially the EMIS and it’s use and functionality.  My strength here is in doing the situation analysis and doing the review and evaluation.

There are also a few other expatriates from other places working on other projects. Many of us are staying at the same place (Mary’s Motel on Terawa) and so naturally we often meet and talk at meal times.  At these times, as in other contexts, we find ourselves asking each other about we do, usually related to our employment context.

Today is Saturday and I am starting to carefully assemble and write the draft report. I have tended to do this in the open-air “cafe” of Mary’s Motel because, although it is hot, it is more pleasant than staying confined to a room. However, I am having a break during the hottest part of the day to spend some time in my room reading some of the blog posts I regularly read.

Reading my favourite blog authors and their writings is always interesting. I have several authors with blog posts who I especially like to read because of their ideas and passions.  So I could not let this quote from Dave Pollard go unrecorded here:

“perhaps instead of asking people we’ve just met what they “do” (usually “for a living”), we should ask them what they care about. What keeps them awake at night. What they would die for. And likewise when others ask us what we “do” we should deflect the question and instead tell them what we really care about. If there’s an obvious disconnect between what we/they do and what we/they care about, that in itself should be the basis for an interesting and soul-searching conversation: Why the disconnect, and what can we do about it? And if the conversation resolves that you and the other(s) you’re speaking with care about the same things, then so much more will have been accomplished than in you had merely exchanged data on your current employment”.

I think this is an excellent idea.  I will try to ask “what do you care about?” instead of “what do you do?” at the next opportunity.


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