The return of the WaLK series

Walk signI am delighted to announce the re-launching of the WaLK (What a Linguist Knows) series here on Career Linguist – as a series of weekly posts (on Tuesdays) that will get you taking small, but very practical steps to navigate your career.

Playing with the metaphor of the career as journey, the idea here with WaLK is to take some steps – to navigate forward.  Of all of the possible paths that you could take, on which will you make some progress today?  If we take the career as journey metaphor seriously, the work of the jobseeker is to WaLK – to put one step in front of the other.  And while this does not mean that it is only your work – there is much that has been built and many fellow traveling and tools to guide your steps – this work of navigating is yours to do ultimately, and this attitude can help shape your thinking as you go about asking for help from career linguists, from colleagues, from professors, from career counselors, etc. – communicating even as you ask for support that you understand and take responsibility for your journey.

When it comes to career, you may already have a very clear sense of your destination, you may only have the fuzziest of ideas of the general direction in which you are going to travel, or you may have no ideas whatsoever. Still, the process is the same, you need to put one foot in front of the other.

And the idea of a WaLK also brings with it other very helpful ways of thinking: we know for example that to take a walk in any direction means not taking that same walk in any of the other possible directions you could have taken (at least not now). Being where you are is simply an irreducible necessity, and thus your focus can only be on choosing the next step (what one thing can you do today, this week, this month, this year). Also, the action of taking a step belies a great deal of work that might otherwise be invisible: the traveling and planning and gathering together of tools and equipment that you have been doing for many years.  You have already come a long way – and you have many tools to travel forth from here.  You can navigate as you go based on more career education and exploration, using orienting tools in the form of maps from those who have traveled these roads before, by continuing to take steps every day, and to navigate with signposts like the following:

The WaLK signs:

  • The problem that you seek to solve (the why of the work)
  • Your approach (the how of the work)
  • The transferable skills you bring (the what of the wwalk iconork)
  • The people (with whom you want to work)
  • The people (for whom you want to work)
  • The places (where you want to work)
  • The value (salary, benefits, lifestyle implications of the work), including the WHEN!

These ideas will kick the series off, starting next Tuesday.  For the next seven weeks, I will explore each of the above 7 ideas in turn Posts will begin next Tuesday August 16th and new ones will appear weekly on Tuesdays, so watch this space (and here’s to what’s next!)


Want to skip ahead and read about a specific WaLK sign? Click link to navigate to the WHO (and Part I: for whom; Part II: with whom), WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW of work!!

You can also read the career path interview with folklorist and ethnographer Tom Carrol, written using the work interrogatives as a frame 🙂