Where Are You Going?

September 10, 2009

—Focusing on your destination during a job search

Several years ago I was part of a methodical downsizing at a major suburban hospital. In outplacement, I went with my career coach to a job club. When it came time to introduce myself I stood and said:

I’m Duane Hallock, former Senior Vice President at Shawnee Mission Medical Center here in Kansas City. I am now looking for a job that will allow me to use the experience and skills I gained in that position.

Afterward my coach pointed out the obvious:  “Your entire introduction looked backward, not forward,” she said. “Others could see where you had been, but you did nothing to help them visualize where you are going.”

She then gave some of the best career advice I’ve ever received, telling me that a job seeker needs to:

  1. Be forward looking.
  2. Position yourself appropriately.

I’ve come to realize that, whether we like it or not, people are always trying to pigeonhole us. That’s human nature, I guess, and it’s especially true when someone is looking for a job. Read the rest of this entry »

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Questions I Asked Myself During a Career Transition

September 3, 2009

Everyone approaches a job search differently. Several years ago when I lost my job as a marketing professional, I looked at my career transition as a marketing opportunity.

I had watched others in similar circumstances as they obsessed on finding the right answers. I took the opposite approach. Rather than seeking answers, I began by asking myself a series of questions, recalling the wise words of James Thurber who once said, “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”

Only after developing what I felt were the right questions did I begin wrestling with the answers. The questions were incredibly easy to ask but excruciatingly difficult to answer. To my amazement, however, this turned into a most insightful and even invigorating process. I’ll share with you the questions, but first let me explain my process.

For a couple hours each day, I went to a local coffee shop and found a secluded table where I could engage myself in a private conversation. I left my laptop at home because I wanted to drill deeper. I used an old-fashioned method of communicating—handwriting on blank sheets of paper. I purchased a leather-bound book containing only blank pages and on the first page I wrote the title:  Journal for the Journey—A personal assessment, a scrapbook of ideas, and a map for navigating an important career transition.

Read the rest of this entry »


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