Talking Shop

I had a lovely revelation today.

I was listening to a new favorite publishing podcast (The Self Publishing Formula with Mark Dawson, look it up if you’re in the industry)*. Anyway, I was listening to this podcast and the host, who is a pretty successful indie publisher mentioned in passing how at this conference he met up with some of his listeners and had a great time talking shop around publishing and the business.

And I remembered something else I’d heard in another podcast I love (not publishing/writing related, at least not directly, but also fantastic — ‘the Happiness Project with Gretchen Rubin’), and she said that a good ‘know yourself better’ is whether or not you like talking shop about your job. It’s not a perfect indicator, but it can be a tool to help realize if you’re in the right field.

I remember listing to her talk about this, and remembering when I was working at Volkswagen as an engine engineer, planning the Chinese fleet, which, was an interesting job and challenging etc, but I hated talking shop. I dreaded when we would have work lunches together or business trips and people would want to start talking shop spontaneously. I always felt like I had so little to add to the discussion (although I was good at my job), and I just didn’t enjoy the time. I found myself heading more towards how people were spending their weekends or basically anything else. What they were reading, how the wife was doing. anything.

But now that I’m trying to get myself established in publishing and writing, I love talking shop. I love learning day and night new strategies and tips to be successful at this as a career, and how people do their work and how to improve my productivity. I love learning strategies to sell on amazon and how to make ads on Facebook work. I could talk shop all the time, and if anything, am feeling sometimes the lack of people with whom to talk shop with!

It was a good realization though, because it reinforced for me how I feel like I’ve really found a great place for me – and one that I think if I continue to work and focus on, I can succeed in. It’s a good place to be.

In contrast, in my last job, I felt like I really could have succeeded — my boss and others seemed to see me as having a bright corporate career in front of me — but I felt so uninspired.

* This podcast will always be special to me because I was binge listening to it over the last two weeks before my son was born when I had that pregnancy insomnia — which is really only just a slightly more intense version of my normal night-owlishness. I was listening to maybe three episodes a night till two or three in the morning (they’re an hour long so… it was a fair bit of binging