Creative Commons License photo credit: divemasterking2000

Even though we’re experiencing some of the toughest economic times in history, there are still thousands of opportunities out there.  The key is your perspective and how you approach the current job market.

Do you know what you really want from your next position?

What Color Is Your Parachute?

This is both a literal and figurative question.  What are you doing to make sure that you are:

1.  Researching your employment options effectively and

2.  Seeking a position that lines up with your skills, goals interests, values and work conditions?

Are you looking for another J-O-B or do you want to be dedicated to your life’s work?

There’s a difference and here’s the first step.

The Flower Diagram from What Color Is Your Parachute

What Color Is Your Parachute? is the definitive resource for all job-seekers no matter the level or occupation.  It is essentially a guide to help you define who you are within the context of your career and how to go about achieving it.

One of the more popular assessments in What Color Is Your Parachute is the Flower Diagram.  It’s popularity is largely based on the fact that once completed, you gain a deeper level of insight into the one thing you spend your life chasing: a JOB and/or career.  For some, this can be a fruitful lesson and for others tortuous resulting in deep regret.

This is because some realize they may have been spending too much time chasing something that they weren’t built to pursue first place.  Read: No you do not have to be stuck working as the department secretary for the rest of your life when you’ve dreamt of pursuing a career as a nurse.  For example, a lawyer 6 years out of law school who now realizes they should have been yoga instructor or restaurant owner.  Happens all the time, people get epiphanies so proceed with caution.

Here’s a blank and completed Flower Diagram:

Completed Flower Diagram By Yours Truly

6 Steps To Take After Completing the Flower Diagram:

  1. Interview people currently in this “dream job” and try to assess via the conversation the steps they took to get where they are today
  2. Ask them questions around how much they like their job/career and how they got started
  3. Research possible organizations that that have positions like this
  4. Join organizations that cater to this position and network with members as they may be able to give you some more insight on how to get your foot in the door.  Never underestimate the power of networking.  For more tips and information, please pick up Never Eat Alone
  5. After networking, determine who is in a position to hire you and design a plan to utilize your contacts to arrange a meeting with him/her.  This isn’t nearly as hard as it looks and actually works once you’ve done all the necessary steps to get to this point.
  6. Once in a position to demonstrate your skills, talents, goals and values relative to the position, ask for the job, even if it is in an apprenticeship or internship, you now have one foot in the door.

My results? It damn near changed my life!  By completing this diagram, it confirmed about myself 3 things that I’d been scared to admit:

1.  I like working solo.  I don’t mind the occasional team project but I like setting my own deadlines and working in a manner that isn’t hampered by someone else’s inaction.  This doesn’t mean I am intolerant of opposing viewpoints or that Im not open to outside ideas but I just tend to work best by myself.

2.  I am not built for the 9-5 grind.  My GF and I woud kid about this at our first job here in DC but we were serious.  I dislike getting up everyday to work on someone else’s dream while mine dwindle away under notepads filled with goals and plans.  I want to get up each morning working towards my goal of financial independence with ME as the boss.

3.  I value working with like-minded people who are serious go-getters and constantly working towards the next goal.  These people also challenge me to do and be better on a daily basis.  They aren’t yes men or women who tell me what I want to hear, they give it to me straight, henny with no coke.  I don’t sugar-coat well.

Your task:  Complete the flower diagram and report back in the comments your results

Questions: Did anything change for you after completing the flower diagram?  How do you now feel about your career path so far?  Do you have plans to change anything?  If so, what is it and if not, why?

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