The Recruitment Underground Blog

Career Skills, Training and Transitions

What Do You Want?

Posted by jamesseetoo on October 20, 2009


I had the pleasure of attending a friend’s workshop this past weekend and one of the key questions he posed to the group was, “What Do You Want?”  Do you know what you want?

It’s a good question and more importantly, if you do know what you want are you willing to come out and tell people what it is.  And I think it’s very telling because you know what, I wasn’t prepared to tell people what it is I want and so I really thought about it.

How are you supposed to get what you want if you A) Don’t know what that is and B) Can’t tell people?  It’s like standing at the front of the Starbucks line looking at the menu and doing a Ralph Kramden, “homina, homina, homina, homina”. For those who don’t get it, please see The Honeymooners, specifically the Chef of the Future episode.

So you say, “I want a job”.  Okay fine – you can have a job.  But it likely won’t be the job you want because when you don’t decide what you want someone else will decide for you.  What are the core values you hold that you won’t cross?  These are all things that are important in defining who you are, what you stand for and what you bring to the table.

Here’s an exercise for you and I hate lists but it’s sometimes a really good way to define what you’re looking for and how you’ll know it when you see it:

Make a list either on your computer or on a sheet of paper and title it: “What I Want”.  In this case it can be for a job but can also be used in any area of your life.  Write down all the things that you want in a job.  Not stupid little things like I want blue walls in my workspace unless that is supremely important to you, but real core value things like I want a job that where I will have the opportunity to grow my leadership skills even if it is first as a team member then as a leader.

Then make a list of things that violate your core values.  I call it the “Things I Won’t Have” list.  Here’s an extreme example.  If you’re in the medical field and are truly opposed to abortion then you would have working at an abortion clinic on the list.  I mean it has to be something you truly would not do even for any amount of money.

Once you know yourself you will have the confidence of knowing yourself in a truly intimate way and that confidence goes a long way in how people react to you.  Does this mean that you should try to change the way everyone thinks on a subject?  NO!  That would be called Fanaticism.

But you as a human are entitled to know who you are, what you will and won’t do and what you want.  And when you know that you can be comfortable telling others and going for what you want with no apologies or hesitations and this is a truly powerful way to interact with people, especially employers.  And the good thing is that those who don’t respond positively to you won’t be wasting your valuable job search time and will usually be happy to direct you in to those who would be a good match.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

Best,

James Seetoo

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