Human fruit flies often seem genetically predisposed to do what they do — to instinctively combine their passions with their aptitudes. The rest of us have to work a little harder to discover what we're good at and what we enjoy. Richard Knight should know. Knight, 54, is a senior vice president at Keystone Associates, a premier career-transition firm based in Burlington, Massachusetts. After 16 years in corporate human resources, Knight realized he didn't like where his current road was taking him. The process that he used to switch fields — to outplacement consulting — is the same process that he's used to help hundreds of other people create new career visions.
1. Find the one thing that you love to do. Look beyond the world of business: Knight realized that he cared more about his weekend job as a downhill-skiing instructor at New Hampshire's Waterville Valley Resort than about his work in corporate HR.
2. Break it down. "I asked myself, 'What is it about teaching skiing that leads me to do it for its own sake?' And I realized that I get to teach people a skill and to stay with them until they master it — and then I've truly made a friend."
3. Connect the dots. Figure out which companies and industries need your skills. Knight's pick was obvious to him: "Everything I loved about teaching skiing read like a job description for an outplacement counselor."
4. Market your vision. Now you can tell an interviewer why you want the position, and how it relates to other things that you've done.
Coordinates Richard Knight, firstname.lastname@example.org
A version of this article appeared in the November 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.