“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

It may not be sexy, but I'll make sure it's useful...

You see, every shelf in my apartment is alphabetized. I leave organized file cabinets and supply closets in my wake. I even have a list of "dream chores." In middle school, I learned my affinity for busywork is a marketable skill: I got a bonus in my allowance for reconciling a year's worth of my parents' bank statements.

It's not that I'm drawn to the tedium per se, but rather that I'm happy to do tedious work when I leave a legacy of improvement. This partially captures my application of Professor Frances Frei's definition of leadership: "making others better as a result of your presence — and making sure that impact lasts in your absence." But I know that making others better is not just about efficiency; to feel satisfied I'll need to ensure the people I work with are engaged and motivated.

So how will I make this impact? How will I market this skill? Working in human resources, of course! Though it lacks the sex appeal of contributing directly to firm revenues, I can provide employees with opportunities to thrive and align them with the firm's strategy. I can methodically execute the necessary details of the present, while establishing systems that maintain their usefulness after I'm gone.

— Clare Hawthorne