The Philosophy of Donuts

I have a problem with food “ I love it. And not necessarily the stuff that's good for you, although occasionally I ™ll get lucky and have something healthy.

A connoisseur of sorts, I know what I like. Mexican food is at the top of the list, great steaks, fresh seafood, good burgers, Italian. Yum! High-priced restaurants, fast food establishments or local hang-outs, I love ˜em all.

And don't get me started on donuts. Hubby is truly embarrassed by the fact that I heart donuts. Some people have Spidey-senses, I have donut-senses. With almost laser-like vision I can spot a donut establishment blocks away, without my glasses. I know where the good  donut houses are, and I refuse to absorb calories by eating a low-quality donut.

glazed donut

While I love donuts, they are a treat usually reserved for Sundays. Nothing better than arriving at the donut shop early to peruse the dozens of varieties with colored icings and decorations. So hard to decide on just one!

Another treat reserved for once in a while is fast food. I choose carefully here too. If I ™m going to stray from a decent diet, it had better be good. Lately this means In ˜n Out burger. You ™ve heard me speak of them before, so you know it's a favorite of mine.

As I was enjoying my Sunday treats this week I contemplated the one difference that the good “ no, the great “ food establishments have in common. They have a laser-like focus on basically one product offering. A focus on their core-competency, if you will.

For example, great donut shops usually only make donuts. Sure, they offer drinks to wash down your donut, but I ™ve never seen a great donut shop that also offers lunch. They even operate at only the donut-friendly hours of sunrise to about noon.

For years In ˜n Out has resisted the temptation to expand their product offering. They remain focused on their core competency: a great burger and fries.

Since the lay-off I ™ve struggled with focus as it pertains to how I present myself. After years in business, I ™ve built quite a resume with multiple skill sets. I ™ve found it hard to narrow it down to one skill alone. For example, do I focus on marketing or PR? And inside of each discipline, do I present myself in a narrow or broad light? After all, I have a wide variety of experience, which is good and all things that I enjoy doing.

When people ask the dreaded question what do you want to do?  I struggle sometimes with my answer. If I say marketing or Pr , the next question becomes which one . Either or both,  I say. They say, Can you be more specific?  I say, What is the opportunity?  Of course this is not the best way to banter back and forth. Makes me sound wishy-washy.

Maybe I am undecided. It's so hard to choose one narrow category. Guess I ™m lucky that I enjoy so many aspects of my work.

The biggest reason I hesitate to narrow my focus is that I ™m afraid if I get too specific that I ™ll miss a great opportunity. Is it wrong to want options, I ask you?

When you're laid off and looking for work it seems like the best strategy is to cast a wide net. To me that means looking at all possible opportunities instead of narrowing my focus. Honestly, I can narrow it: I want to work in motorsports marketing. However that is so niche it would fit on the head of a pin.

My gut tells me that many folks who win the lay-off lotto have similar issues when it comes to looking for work. When the goal is so big and so important as a job and income, it's difficult to set limits.

Yet I think limits are necessary. We can't be all things to all people, no matter how hard we try. Just like the specialty restaurants that focus on one food category, we need to highlight our core-competencies instead of trying to be a jack-of-all-trades.

We never see a Donut – Soup and Salad – Prime Rib restaurant, do we?

For me, this means thinking like a donut shop, using laser-focus when looking at new opportunities. Resumes tailored for each application. I prep for each interview like this type of work is the ONLY thing I EVER want to do.

It's taken me a while, but I have been able to overcome my fear of a narrow answer and learned to focus on my core-competencies, even if it means a missed opportunity. The point is not to land any job, but to land one that makes me happy and gives me an opportunity to contribute to the success of the company. A win for everyone.

I ™ve learned a lot from donut shops and the way they run the business. I ™ll even make the separate trip to their store for my fave treat. I may bring some to my next job.

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