Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Making a Career Change: Step 2 Looking Back

Previously: Step 1: Get a Handy Dandy Notebook

Wasn't step 1 easy?! Now that you have your notebook it's time to fill it by embarking on a journey of self-exploration to fully assess where you have been, where you are, where you are going and most importantly where you WANT to go in your professional life. I used to think careers were not about what we wanted but I have since learned otherwise. It's all about what we want and what will make us happy. You know the old Confucius saying "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

Because this process is intensely personal with no wrong answers, it is what you make of it. You will get back what you put in. It is important that you uncensor yourself as much as possible. To help you get started I will lay down some ground rules:
  • Don't worry about anyone ever reading what you are writing, unless you want them to of course.
  • Be honest. The more brutally honest the better.
  • Write now and think later. Tap into your stream of consciousness and let your pen do all the work. Don't think too hard about what you are writing and just write. Often your initial response is the best one so write it down before you can censor yourself.
  • Complete each step in full to the best of your ability.
If you can do those things you're going to get through this just fine! I'm so psyched you're doing this. Let's get started!

Step 2: Looking Back
In your notebook, answer the following questions:
  1. When you were younger what did you want to do for a living? What did you dream of being?
  2. What activities interested you when you were a child? Teenager?
  3. Where did you go to school and what was your major? Why did you pick that as a major?
  4. Who are the major influential figures in your past?  What characteristics about those people appealed to you?
  5. How did you get where you are now? Who helped you get here? What interested you initially about getting to this particular place? Did you get here by accident or on purpose? What skills helped you get here?
  6. List all of the jobs you have ever had in your life.
  7. For each job in question #6, list your most significant accomplishments noting the ones of which you are most proud.
As you can see, this is just a quick check-in to make sure you keep sight of from whence you came. You need to know where you were in order to understand where you are going and how to get there.

Up Next: Step 3: Looking Inside

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