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Welcome to Figuring Out Fulfillment. Today our guest is Albert Terego, who is going to tell us about his latest idea, which he claims can help everyone get more out of their careers.

That’s right, and the great thing is, it’s both simple and powerful. We’ve all heard of the “bucket list,” right? That’s a list you make of all the things you want to do before you die. You know, special things you’ve always dreamt of doing, like climb a mountain or have breakfast in Paris or kiss a penguin.

Kiss a penguin?

Well, you know, visit Antarctica. And maybe just touch a penguin, if you’re shy. Anyway, the point is, you fill the list with the kinds of things maybe you wouldn’t ordinarily get to do, but you absolutely want to make sure you do before you . . . kick the bucket. Get it? That’s why they call it a bucket list.

Ah. So they could have called it a “farm list,” or a “daisies list”? Maybe a “chips list”?

No, see, you don’t kick the farm. You kick the bucket.

But you buy the farm. You push up daisies. So you could call it a daisies list.

But that doesn’t make sense. No one calls it a daisies list. It’s a bucket list.

Oookay. So how can a bucket list help us get more out of our careers?

A bucket list can’t help you with that. A bucket list is what you want to do before you kick the bucket. You need something different for work – a list of what you want to do before you retire. Or, as some people say, before they give you the gold watch. That’s why I say: You need –

A watch list?

Bingo! Think about all those things you always wanted to do at work, but you’ve never had the chance to. You put them on your watch list.

Isn’t being on a watch list a bad thing? Like, the TSA keeps an eye out for you and pulls you aside at the airport?

What? No! I mean . . . I mean, that’s right. The watch list is a list of things you keep your eye out for, and when you see an opportunity to do one of them, you grab it!

Like a suspected terrorist?

Exactly! Because you don’t want to let something like that slip through your fingers, right? You might regret it later. Am I right?

I guess that depends on what you are letting slip away. What’s in your watch list?Gold_Chaika_Pocket_Watch_made_in_the_USSR

Oh, me, I’ve got a couple dozen things on my watch list. So far. Basically the things on my list fall into two categories. There’s the stuff I want to accomplish in my job, and the stuff I want to get out of my job. The things I want to accomplish are things like: being named employee of the month, getting promoted to management, and initiating my own major project and seeing it all the way through to completion. The stuff I want to get out of the job are things like: going to one of those all-expenses-paid industry conventions in a resort like Cancun or the Bahamas, calling in sick on a sunny day so I can go play golf–

Wait a minute. Why is it important for you to call in sick for a day before you retire? I mean, once you retire, you can take all the mental health days you want. Right?

How would that work? You take a day off from taking the rest of your life off? What do you do, go back into the office?

That’s not the point. The point is, you want time to play golf, you’ll have plenty of time to play golf after you retire. For that matter, if you want to go to Cancun, just save some money and go to Cancun.

I don’t want to go to Cancun if I have to pay for it. But if I have to go to another one of those useless mind-numbing conferences again, I want to be sent to Cancun for it.

I see. So, really, you just want the kind of job that has those kinds of perks. Like, maybe, if you get promoted to management.

Now you get it. I work hard and I want to earn the kinds of rewards that make that work worthwhile. And there are things I want to accomplish while I am working, too. A little recognition, a little impact, something that shows I made a difference. So I wrote up my watch list to keep track of those things. And I think it’s a good idea, so I wanted to share it with you folks.

Well, it is a fine idea. I just have one more question.

Fire away.

Okay. Why keep a watch list, for your career, separate from your bucket list, for your life? Why not just keep everything on your bucket list?

That’s easy. The stuff on the watch list, you gotta take care of that stuff first, before you retire. Once you retire, you can start working on crossing things off your bucket list.

But what if you don’t make it to retirement? What if there’s a car accident? Or a heart attack? Or a stroke? Terrorist incident? Cancer? Plane crash? Food poisoning? Jealous lover? Earthqu–

I get it, I get it! Anything could happen. But you got it backwards, then.

I do?

Yeah. Don’t keep everything on your bucket list. Keep it all on your watch list — the important stuff, at least — whether or not it has anything to do with work. Maybe you can even satisfy some of your personal goals through your work. That way, you know that you are taking care a lot of the stuff you really care about by the time you stop working. However that may happen.