Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Navigating Your Magical Career

At a conference last year I sat next to another Project Manager and part way through the conversation the other chap paused to reflect:
“Looking back at my career having been a Project Manager for five years - I have to stop and ask the question; ‘How did I get here?’”
I call this the Accidental Project Manager and come across this sort of thing all the time. It’s only now that Project Management has become an established part of the business world that Project Management is being taught as its own discipline
This brings me on to the related subject of magical careers. You may not think of your worship, studies or magical practices as being a career. Chances are it’s not your primary source of income and I’m not even going to speculate on your reasons for following your particular path. However, what I would like to focus on is:
  1. Reflecting (briefly) on how you go to the point where you are now and
  2. Considering planning where you’d like to be in the next 5-10 years
Reflections from another time

 Reflecting is a common phase to move through as a Project Manager in the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. Only by looking at the past can you reasonably plan for the future.

Looking back at my magical career, it started with an interest in Kabbalah. First I tried Hermetic books such as those by Regardie which I then put aside as they seemed to conceal more than they revealed. Instead I focused on academic books by Gershom Scholem, Moshe Idel. Then I added authors such as Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan and Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh which has led me to the area of what I label as Jewish Kabbalah in which I am growing in knowledge and practice.

If you’re struggling with trying to piece together how you got to be where you are now (in terms of magical development), here is a short list of questions to get you started:
  1. Which is your favourite author?
  2. What area are you currently reading about?
  3. Do you have a daily practice or calendar with special days of worship?
  4. Who are your major influences and why?
  5. What would you label yourself as now and what labels might have applied previously?
  6. If you could give yourself 5 years ago some advice, what would it be?
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

“Fail to Plan, plan to fail” is a old military saying, It’ been adopted in Project Management as well as many other disciplines. I’ve struggled in the past knowing what I was going to be doing in 5 years time as I did not even know what I’d be doing next week. Sometimes life seems so chaotic and changeable that it seems like madness to try to plan too far ahead when everything is likely to change.

I said that this is how I used to think as my training and experience as a Project Manager have proven this thinking as misguided. There is a probability associated wich how likely any factor in one’s life and if you can broadly group those factors then you can start to manage them better.

For example, if you’re thinking of starting some gardening then things like: seasons, soil composition, irrigation and vegetable varieties could be classed as less likely to change, whilst pollination, crop disease, water supply and availability of free time might be classed as more likely to change.

What is your specialty?

To change the subject ever so slightly, a number of computer games have the concept built in that you can make your character a specialist in particular skills and abilities. This is called a Tech Tree.

We each have a tech tree although I personally have never tried to think of my development along my rather rambling magical path as a tech tree. However, if I gave it a go – it would look a bit like this:

The points are based on a personal guess out of 10 in total. So as you can see I have a lot of scope for development and you can also hopefully see the areas where I would like to grow stronger in.

Choose Your Path Wisely

So my challenge to you is: can you draw out your own Tech Tree? Which areas are you looking develop in further and which areas have you chosen not to invest in? Remember folks, at the end of the day you are competing against yourselves. We all live within the constraints of Time, Cost and Scope.
  • Time – how much time can you and will you spare to invest in your magical career?
  • Cost – how much money can and will you invest in your magical career?
  • Scope – what area of the Tech Tree are you going to specialize in? There’s never enough time to develop all areas to the same degree.
You may have other constraints such as opportunity, motivation, life circumstances, etc but as long as you know what they are – you can plan accordingly to get the best chance at meeting your goals.