It can feel daunting to make time for the thinking about career given how busy we all are, and it is very tempting to kick this particular can down the road – to look ahead to a particular moment when things are going to “quiet down” when there will finally be time to “focus” and then we will start doing things for ourselves. Unfortunately, this can often ensure that career thinking aligns with jobsearching – meaning that instead of time to think, and develop, and learn, you are in “go-time” needing to actually be finding that job, in which case, doing so puts all the more pressure on a process that is already fraught and stressful.
Begin now. Begin small. Make time to build momentum for your career.
For folks who use the Pomodoro writing technique, I advocate for finding time for just one or two pomodoros a week. When done consistently, over time, these accrue knowledge and momentum that set you up beautifully for that moment in which you will need to leap for the next job, take that next opportunity!!
Make time for:
You are making time for activities like: Research, Writing, Talking, Reflecting. So maybe this week, it is reading an article, researching an organization, and working on your resume. Next week: setting up an informational interview, and journaling about the experience. The week after that: finding a networking activity to attend, and attending it.
You are looking to find: People, Organizations, Events, Resources, Job announcements
And while these things that you are focused on are wonderful, the process itself generates not only information but connection and clarity – as you go, you are building your network and conversations with these people help you to narrow in on your “asks.” And hopefully you are now starting to see how this is all iterative: With more knowledge and better people, the “ask” will be better as will the answer be, AND your ability to act on it!!
A recent example:
I am currently interested in learning about applications of storytelling. Over the course of a recent conversation that I set up with a professional whose work sounded interesting to me (a.k.a. an informational interview), I received the suggestion of a storytelling consultant with whom this person had worked. That started me doing some research about that storytelling consultant, which led me to some information about who is “like her” (“people also searched” through LinkedIn), which led me to find a few other organizations which inspired a blog post about professional applications of storytelling (in development – and will be coming shortly here on Career Linguist).
And then, I got an email – advance notice about a webinar that I am going to be attending on Wed (hosted by Flexible Academics) a great resource BTW – check them out) – the presenter wanted to know whether we had any questions that we wanted her to address on the webinar. Because of the recent work I had been doing, I was ready with “my ask:”
I want to talk about how to use your academic background as a differentiator. So in my case, I am looking to apply storytelling to business. There are many consultancies who do this, but few who bring the linguistic toolkit / mindset.
This ask is much more narrow and focused than “applications of storytelling” and thus likelier to yield better information, connection, and perhaps opportunities!!
Make the time to find your asks (and ask them!) Amaze yourself with what comes next! 🙂