I was having dinner with a friend about six months ago. We worked together several years ago. We discussed our work situations and where we saw ourselves going in the future. I shared some of my frustrations at work and he made an interesting observation. He said that we were both dragon slayers. We see a problem, we solve it and then we move on to the next dragon.
So that idea has been percolating in my mind since then. I settled on the idea of a medieval dragon slayer stuck in the cubicle, corporate structure of today’s marketplace.
I’m a dragon slayer. Give me a dragon and I’ll slay it. I don’t want to fill out TPS reports on my progress. If your house is still on fire, then the dragon is still alive. If your livestock is alive and you can sleep through the night without banshee-like screams then the dragon is dead. That’s my report. And can I say, if I have to sit through another meeting about our “perceived” dragon problem, I think I’m going to kill something.
I can’t count the number of villagers that stop me and ask for help. It usually goes like this. They tell me that they have a hole in their roof or a wall and need help fixing it. If I’m not otherwise engaged, I’ll spend an afternoon helping them restore their home. Inevitably, the conversation comes around to how the hole came to be. “Oh, a dragon attacked a few days ago. It’s gone now. I’m so glad you helped fix the roof.”
They thought their problem was a hole in their roof, but the real problem was the dragon. I can come back in a week and they’ll have another hole or even worse, the house will have burned to the ground. Too often, people look at symptoms and think those are the problem. Once they understand they have a dragon problem, I can get to work doing what I do best. When I’ve done my job, they won’t have any more burned roofs or broken walls due to dragons.
I also run into the problem that once the I’ve slain the dragon, the villagers, my employers, want me to get rid of the dragon. I’m a dragon slayer. I don’t know how to butcher a dragon. I don’t know if dragon meat is worth eating. That task is left to someone with the expertise and tools to quickly and properly dress and butcher a dragon. If you want me to butcher a dragon, I’m going to spend way more time and effort than a butcher. Plus, the time I spend butchering is time I’m not hunting the next dragon and keeping the next village safe. I make sure the butcher and all the other villagers are safe. That way the butcher can get up tomorrow morning and go back to work making dragon ribeyes.
Dragon slayers love their jobs because they like a good challenge. You shouldn’t hire me because I look good in armor. You shouldn’t hire me because other villages have hired dragon slayers. You should hire me because you have a dragon problem. You should hire me because of my expertise. I can hear a scream or catch the shadow of a dragon as it flies overhead and tell you what kind of dragon is troubling you. I know its style of attack and its defenses and I know how to defeat it.
If you hire me to kill your dragon, don’t ask me for a spreadsheet with my kill vs encounter ratios broken down by month. All you need to know is it’s 100%. I’m not going to create a line graph showing my kills trending over time. We dragon slayers are a mobile breed. You don’t put us on retainer. I’m not going to sit around waiting for the next dragon to wander out of its lair to create wanton destruction. Once I’ve killed your dragon, I’m going to find the next village with a dragon problem. That’s what I do. I’m a dragon slayer.