Frazer Buntin | Lunch & Learn

The Grey Areas

Black and white group photo of Circa designers holding up the book ' a monkey could do your job' by Frazer Buntin
By // Christine Kozuch

I have never thought of myself as being on my career path. Sure, I went to college and got my degree in Graphic Design, but after that I worked on a ranch in Montana as a concierge and then I eventually moved to Nashville. Here I found myself working in retail for three and a half years and tutoring inner city kids in an after school program. Here and there I touched on design, but I felt like a failure because I wasn’t doing what I had set out to do in the design world. I hadn’t even stepped foot in an agency anxiety and doubt consumed my mind anytime I sat down to design anything. How could I possibly be on my career path? How in the world was all of this going to tie into being a graphic designer?

 

Clearly, I have always been the type of person who is interested in a lot of different things. This phenomenon was given a name when Frazer Buntin came to a Lunch and Learn here Circa. A “Generalist” is what he described. He told us about how he would go into college classrooms and ask students who knew that they were going to be either a professional athlete or doctor to stand up. Maybe two people stood while the rest of the class would there, he said, eyeing their neighbors in complete disdain, as they were all in the same boat. Those people, the ones still sitting in their chairs, they are the generalists, and that’s the exact same boat that I have been in my entire life; I just could never make sense of it until it was given a name.

 

A little bit of weight lifted from my shoulders when he told us that story. I thought to myself, okay, I’m not the only one who experiences this dilemma. I have always envied people who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life or were even just content with where they were in life because I’ve always been looking for the next thing. It’s taken me on some really exciting adventures and I have learned more about myself, but I’ve also had a sense of shame because I haven’t been able to stick to just one thing.

 

If you haven’t read the book A Monkey Could Do Your Job by Frazer Buntin then right now, this very moment, or at least after you finish reading this post, go to Amazon and buy it. Not only does it give clarity to personal emotions and experiences that I have dealt with in these past few years, but it gives practical advice on dealing with emotions in the workplace and defining your goals and passions. It gives names to thoughts and feelings. It gives practical advice for landing a job, and it gives tips on how to stand out from amongst thousands of other applicants. When I read all of this it was like an aha moment, but also a well, yeah, this all makes sense.

 

Without giving away the book in its entirety, I will give snippets of how Buntin suggests we suvive in an environment with so many feelings about what it is that we (me) are doing with our careers and, essentially, where does one start when it becomes too much to take in.

 

First and foremost, Frazer recommends doing some intense personal reflection.
Ask yourself:

Where am I?

What don’t I enjoy?

Talk to your peers, mentors, a stranger at the coffee shop.

 

Next, journal. It doesn’t have to be a daily thing, but getting anything on paper is a good way to just get your thoughts out. What does success look like for me? We all have a value system for our lives; do we value the monetary means of a job or is it the flexibility of working from home? Find those key things that you value.

Where are the gaps?

 

And then finally, the last step that Frazer advises is to put the damn thing down and give it a break. Seriously. He says to enjoy what you are doing in the moment and to not give a shit. He says, “You can direct your career, but you can’t control it. Just let it unfold.”

In those moments I felt such relief. It’s easy to live in our heads and to tell ourselves just one version our story. Wherever you find yourself today, just know that it’s okay. It’s okay to not have it all figured out. Frazer told us how much the years have been a blur to him because he became fixated on what was ahead or dwelling on what was behind instead of living in the now. He said, “Our lives often occur in the grey areas and that’s okay.” So, go and do the work that needs to be done but also remember to enjoy the grey areas as well.”

The Grey Areas

Black and white group photo of Circa designers holding up the book ' a monkey could do your job' by Frazer Buntin
By // Christine Kozuch

I have never thought of myself as being on my career path. Sure, I went to college and got my degree in Graphic Design, but after that I worked on a ranch in Montana as a concierge and then I eventually moved to Nashville. Here I found myself working in retail for three and a half years and tutoring inner city kids in an after school program. Here and there I touched on design, but I felt like a failure because I wasn’t doing what I had set out to do in the design world. I hadn’t even stepped foot in an agency anxiety and doubt consumed my mind anytime I sat down to design anything. How could I possibly be on my career path? How in the world was all of this going to tie into being a graphic designer?

Clearly, I have always been the type of person who is interested in a lot of different things. This phenomenon was given a name when Frazer Buntin came to a Lunch and Learn here Circa. A “Generalist” is what he described. He told us about how he would go into college classrooms and ask students who knew that they were going to be either a professional athlete or doctor to stand up. Maybe two people stood while the rest of the class would there, he said, eyeing their neighbors in complete disdain, as they were all in the same boat. Those people, the ones still sitting in their chairs, they are the generalists, and that’s the exact same boat that I have been in my entire life; I just could never make sense of it until it was given a name.

A little bit of weight lifted from my shoulders when he told us that story. I thought to myself, okay, I’m not the only one who experiences this dilemma. I have always envied people who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life or were even just content with where they were in life because I’ve always been looking for the next thing. It’s taken me on some really exciting adventures and I have learned more about myself, but I’ve also had a sense of shame because I haven’t been able to stick to just one thing.

If you haven’t read the book A Monkey Could Do Your Job by Frazer Buntin then right now, this very moment, or at least after you finish reading this post, go to Amazon and buy it. Not only does it give clarity to personal emotions and experiences that I have dealt with in these past few years, but it gives practical advice on dealing with emotions in the workplace and defining your goals and passions. It gives names to thoughts and feelings. It gives practical advice for landing a job, and it gives tips on how to stand out from amongst thousands of other applicants. When I read all of this it was like an aha moment, but also a well, yeah, this all makes sense.

Without giving away the book in its entirety, I will give snippets of how Buntin suggests we survive in an environment with so many feelings about what it is that we (me) are doing with our careers and, essentially, where does one start when it becomes too much to take in.

First and foremost, Frazer recommends doing some intense personal reflection.
Ask yourself:

Where am I?

What don’t I enjoy?

Talk to your peers, mentors, a stranger at the coffee shop.

Next, journal. It doesn’t have to be a daily thing, but getting anything on paper is a good way to just get your thoughts out. What does success look like for me? We all have a value system for our lives; do we value the monetary means of a job or is it the flexibility of working from home? Find those key things that you value.

Where are the gaps?

And then finally, the last step that Frazer advises is to put the damn thing down and give it a break. Seriously. He says to enjoy what you are doing in the moment and to not give a shit. He says, “You can direct your career, but you can’t control it. Just let it unfold.”

In those moments I felt such relief. It’s easy to live in our heads and to tell ourselves just one version our story. Wherever you find yourself today, just know that it’s okay. It’s okay to not have it all figured out. Frazer told us how much the years have been a blur to him because he became fixated on what was ahead or dwelling on what was behind instead of living in the now. He said, “Our lives often occur in the grey areas and that’s okay.” So, go and do the work that needs to be done but also remember to enjoy the grey areas as well.”

Lunch and Learn thumbnail depicts an amerstand on white background filled by grey outlined graphics overlaid with the stacked words Lunch Learn nested inside a orange box with the Circa Logo at the bottom.

About Lunch & Learn

At Circa, we have a bold understanding that education never just stops after college. This has been the motivation for our new series: Lunch & Learn. Every month we will have lunch with some of the brightest people in the creative field ranging from painters to SEO masters; and poke their brains to get a better understanding of the world and our role as visual communicators.

About Frazer Buntin

Frazer Buntin is an artist, entrepreneur, healthcare executive, and author residing in Nashville, TN. Buntin graduated from The University of the South at Sewanee with a degree Environmental Science, studying geology and forestry, before getting an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. He is currently the COO at a small, private healthcare firm and he spends his free time outdoors, writing, and creating art based on his geologic studies.

Lunch and Learn thumbnail depicts an amerstand on white background filled by grey outlined graphics overlaid with the stacked words Lunch Learn nested inside a orange box with the Circa Logo at the bottom.

About Lunch & Learn

At Circa, we have a bold understanding that education never just stops after college. This has been the motivation for our new series: Lunch & Learn. Every month we will have lunch with some of the brightest people in the creative field ranging from painters to SEO masters; and poke their brains to get a better understanding of the world and our role as visual communicators.

About Frazer Buntin

Frazer Buntin is an artist, entrepreneur, healthcare executive, and author residing in Nashville, TN. Buntin graduated from The University of the South at Sewanee with a degree Environmental Science, studying geology and forestry, before getting an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. He is currently the COO at a small, private healthcare firm and he spends his free time outdoors, writing, and creating art based on his geologic studies.