Pivot Point


Who do you work for?

You’ve probably heard this question a thousand times, and responded with the name of your employer.  But what if I ask you,

What do you work for?

A friend of my was recently laid off and sought my advice.  We strategized what he should do next.

“Should I go back to school?”layoffs

“Where should I look for a job?”

“Do you think I am in the right specialty?”

Clearly he has been thinking, a lot.

It’s not the end of the world,”  I reassured him.  It is only one of many changes in your life; and changes can be good.

I reflected on a time in my life when I made a major career decision and voluntarily left government for the private sector.  My wife and I uprooted ourselves from Houston, our hometown, and moved to Dallas, and then later, Austin.  We were miserable in the first couple of years, but now looking back, we can see that change was a pivot point.

Judo throw“You see how a Judo master pivots and throws his opponent off balance?”  I focused my attention back on my friend.  “You are at a pivot point–turn the negatives into something positive.

Layoff has its upsides,” I continued, “like freedom to pursue different things.

Part of me envied his new found freedom.  As our conversation goes on, I thought about what I would do if I was in his situation, and came to a profound question.

“What is your passion?”   I refocused back on my friend.

“What is my passion?”  He repeated to buy more time to process the question.  “I guess my passion is to make things that benefit human-kind.”

I could tell that he knew the answer was vague and continued to search within.


“Your next step should take you towards your passion,”  I broke the silence.  “Otherwise, you’re just jumping from one hamster wheel to another.”


Often we lose sight of our passion. Without understanding our passion, how would we know we are headed in the right direction?

So, what do you work for?


(The above article is solely the expressed opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the position of his current and past employers)