What's a "Boom Wrangler"?

Originally published 6/12/10

According to Po Bronson's book, I gather a "Boom Wrangler" is someone who rides the crest of each boom, each fad, in the marketplace. The wrangler enjoys the ride, and is constantly looking for the next big thing to dive into.

As I read this description, it sounded a lot like a person who is a "learner", as was described in Gallup surveys that I took: first in YPO, then later at work. A learner is someone who loves to learn new things. A "Boom Wrangler" sounds like a "learner" on steroids. Of course the term "Boom Wrangler" sounds pejorative, but I'm sure a confirmed B-W can be happy, if they feed this need they have.

In those surveys, "learner" came out as my top characteristic (I think, it was at least in the top five). So I eagerly set out to decide if I was a natural "Boom Wrangler", who had somehow missed the "Booms" (like, dot-coms, hedge funds, selling mortgage bonds, etc.).

I've always liked trying new things, and my interest in most of the things I've tried, both career and leisure, has tended to peak and then decline over a span of two to five years. These are B-W characteristics.

As I read further, I decided, however, that this does not describe me. I don't line up in several areas:
1. I'm too risk averse. I like my risk in smaller, less scary doses. I'm okay with moderate mountain climbing, but not with jumping cars on a motorcycle. I'm okay with incremental career changes, but, up to now, have always avoided going back to the start and trying something completely new.
2. I've got too many things I definitely don't like doing, and haven't been interested in trying. Most of them involve taking social risks -- like being in sales myself, or going around asking people for money (donations, investment capital, whatever). Sure I've done some of that stuff in limited quantities -- I've had too. But they definitely aren't something I would be willing jump into with both feet.
3. I do actually have some interests that have had staying power. I like products -- like working with them, like making them better, like thinking about how to produce them more efficiently. I have always liked athletics, and continue to enjoy regular fitness. I like music -- at least my own particular taste in music. Travel, particularly international, is another preference with staying power.
4. My changes have never, ever been motivated by boredom. Almost always by that creeping fear and anger that I've discussed in previous blogs.

So, I can cross B-W off of the list of possible diagnoses. It sure is helpful to read other people's ways of thinking about transitions and what drives them, however, because I never in a million years would have ever come up with "Boom Wranglers"!