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The Hero’s Journey is Your Career

In The Hero’s Journey, You Are the Hero

Within each of us, in the collective unconscious, there lies a hero — an archetype that Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung believed lays dormant until called to action. Studying world mythology, Joseph Campbell built upon Jung’s work. In The Power of Myth, Mr. Campbell writes that no matter what the myth, the hero’s journey remains the same.

Your Career is the Hero’s Journey

All heroes must leave what is familiar, venture forth, do battle, and then return, forever changed, with new talents and gifts to share. For those of us in executive search, that means we deal with something far more important than recruiting metrics and candidate tracking systems: with each and every recruiting engagement, we bear witness to the hero’s journey.

The Hero's Journey

First Comes the Call to Action

The hero’s journey begins with a call to action. For executive search, this would be the point at which a candidate is first given notice that everything is going to change. Sometimes, you realize that you have outgrown your current job and that you’ll have to leave to move up the ladder. For the risk-averse, that can be a frightening thought. You are contemplating leaving the company and colleagues that you know. So it’s not surprising that following your call to action, you may initially refuse the call. You may not be ready to make a move out of fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or a sense of duty or obligation.

Executive Recruiter, the Hero’s Guide

In the myth of The Hero’s Journey, once the hero has committed to the quest, a magical guide or helper appears. That would be your executive recruiter, preferably a retained search consultant at a leading executive search firm. The most gifted recruiters and executive search consultants naturally assume that role, ushering candidates across the threshold to enter the world of the unknown — unknown possibilities.

Executive search done well is inspired. Executive headhunters open doors for executives who have worked hard to become the best of the best. We introduce exceptional candidates to once-in-a-lifetime wealth-creation opportunities. Some senior executive jobs are so lucrative they can lift a family up for generations.

But beyond the material benefits — your hero’s journey is a spiritual quest that involves forces far greater than any one of us, including Jung’s collective unconscious and Campbell’s monomyth. Campbell believes that discovering your Hero’s Journey offers you the path to transcendence.

Joseph Campbell’s work lives on. A series of television interviews of the author by journalist Bill Moyers entitled The Power of Myth can still be viewed on Apple TV and YouTube.

Ep. 1: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth — The Hero’s Adventure

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Krista Bradford

Krista Bradford

Krista Bradford is CEO of the retained executive search firm The Good Search and of its research division Intellerati. A former award-winning television journalist and investigative reporter, Ms. Bradford now pursues truth, justice, and great talent in the executive suite.View Author posts

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