I am in a study group for people planning to take the Cicerone exam this year. It is being held by one of our distributors and most the people in the group work for the distributor. Everyone in the group is a busy person. Either they are a rep or brand manager for the distributor or like me, they are a decision maker at a bar/restaurant. This group and the test are major commitments. They not only have jobs but families as well. So, for most of the people taking it, the goal is simply to pass the test to put the title on your resume.
That means during the class, the leader, who has passed the test, gets, “Will this be on the test?” when he gives out information. I understand, these people are busy and they are trying to improve themselves professionally and make themselves stand out from the crowd at their company. It never occurs to me to ask that question. This isn’t a value judgment, but I’m just in the room for a different reason.
Some people find their thing when they are young. How many times have we read a story about a successful doctor, scientist, lawyer, or teacher who says they always knew that is what they wanted to be. From an early age, they pushed themselves to become the thing that they are and they love their life.
Then there are some people for who, becoming is the whole point of life. It takes these people a while to find their thing. Sometimes, however, when these people find their thing, they treasure it more than the ones who’ve always known. The people who find their thing later in life value the thing because finding it is the point of their journey. For them, finding their thing isn’t the end of the journey, but the next phase of it.
For me, the Cicerone exam isn’t an end. It is a line of demarcation in a journey that will take me to whatever it is that I’m to become before I die. I work in craft beer not because I expect to make lots of money from it or get famous because of it. I work in craft beer because I find the whole thing interesting. From beer itself, how it is brewed, and how subtle changes in just 4 ingredients can affect the look and taste of what we drink; to the laws that govern beer and alcohol in this country; all the way to how craft beer culture often reflects the best and worst of American culture at large.
Yes, I want to ace the Cicerone test. I want to do it to learn as much as possible about beer and to continue my journey of becoming who I am. Getting as high a score as possible will prove to myself that I have a good knowledge of beer and a base for the writing and work I want to continue in the industry.