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JULY 2011

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Being of Intrinsic Value to Others


By Greg Powell, CFP, CD, BA (Psych), RHU
Financial Centre Manager, Sun Life Financial - Surrey

Greg PowellI have recruited many people in the last several years with nothing more than a pen and several sheets of blank paper. There are no glossy brochures, no slideshows, and no polished phrases. I simply ask, “If you were craft your ideal next career, what would it look like?”, then be quiet, listen and write down what I hear. I tell them the notes I take are theirs when I’m done.

Sometimes the person doesn’t know where to start (maybe they have never been asked what they want before). I remember one individual who didn’t stop talking for 25 minutes!  They became quite emotional, and express anger and frustration about letting themselves get into a bad situation and failing to pursue a fulfilling career.

Sooner or later, people wonder whether their current career is an extension of themselves, and often it concerns them what that may say about them. Socrates said, “A life unexamined is not worth living”, and I believe moments of self-analysis and career analysis are opportunities for us to decide if it’s time for a change. By posing this question honestly, with no presumption of the outcome, I have heard some remarkable things from my candidates. If the disparity between their desired career and their current one is large enough, they are likely to be willing to consider another opportunity.

We all want meaningful work and a career that is respected by others. I often tell candidates I meet that significance is achieved through helping others, not by focusing on the self and on conventional measures of success. It’s about the impact you have on others by delivering intrinsic value; this is measured by the size of the problem(s) you solve for others. Our industry exists to solve serious financial problems for Canadians.

I explain that we are looking for people who are looking for meaningful work and who wish to be significant to others. We are sentinels who protect and advocate for people who may have no say in the matter. We speak for the spouses, the children, the business partners, and the employees whose lives depend on the people we meet. I can’t think of a more meaningful occupation, and for the right person this career can be amazing.

When our time is up, and after seeing parallels in what they’re looking for and what we’re looking for, I suggest we look into whether this vocation could be a good fit. After passing them the notes I’ve made, and booking the next meeting, I pass them a piece of paper that says:
  • We protect people who depend on others so they have peace of mind when that person is no longer able to take care of them
  • We provide worry-free retirement with an income people can’t outlive so they can keep their independence and enjoy their golden years
  • We protect people’s assets when they get sick or unable to work so they can focus on getting better and retain their financial plans
  • We provide legacy for families and business so that what you’ve built carries on.


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