Sweet Gig

comic1jpgHow do you measure the true value of a job?

Conventional wisdom has its answers (salary, glamor, social networking). Here’s a better measure: how much opportunity you get to spend constructing and honing your high-speed circuitry.

This story gives us a beautiful example from the NFL, where a crop of new head coaches (nine at last count) bloom from an identical place: a position called “quality-control coach.” This is the low-paid, anonymous person whose job it is to spend hundreds of hours inside a tiny room analyzing film, assembling phonebook-thick playbooks, immersed in the subtle differences that separate winning from losing.

Reading the story gave me a bit of deja-vu of my first job as an intern at Outside magazine in the late eighties. Feature stories came in as hard copies; our job was to retype them into the computer system. Then the pieces would be edited by the magazine’s talented editors, and we interns would type all their changes in, adding the captions, headlines, and all the other tiny improvements that transformed a rough draft into a polished story. A lowly job, by all measures except one:  the opportunity to practice deeply.