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Career Paths for linguists, Resources

Book review: How to Be Everything

How to be everything image

It’s been a while since we have reviewed a book over here on Career Linguist, but a conversation over on the CL (Mighty) Network today reminded me about how much I appreciated Emilie Wapnick’s book How to Be Everything and I thought I would share some of my thoughts by way of kicking off a summer “work books” series. Stay tuned for more thoughts about books that tackle subjects like finding meaning and purpose in work, and please recommend your favorites! @careerlinguist

Reading this book was one big huge “a-ha” for me, in ways that I think that many folks who have pursued a PhD will recognize. Emilie is known for having coined the term “multipotentialite,” aka “multipod,” aka “multi-passionate” or a variety of other descriptors (scanner, renaissance person, generalist). As I read this book, and worked through her “you may be a mulitpotentialite if…”s, I recognized myself in many of the attributes she describes, including that I love to learn, I am typically looking for a new challenge after about 3-4 years on any project, I can often be found at the intersection of two (or more) ideas, trying to work out how one thing may be applied to / used as a way of understanding the other, and that I seem to gravitate towards / thrive on work that pulls my attention in various directions simultaneously.

An important caveat before we proceed any further: this book is how to BE everything, and not how to DO everything. We all have limited time and energy, and although we may have many interests,  the goal is to have a good life, so we need to think about ways to strategize.

So, to begin with, one very helpful analogy she gives is that of the stovetop. We can only have so many things simmering at once, and likely at least a couple of them are on the back burner (at least for now). That said, her book offers four main approaches to moving through varied interests sequentially or simultaneously (or both): the Group Hug, Slash, Einstein, and Phoenix.

For a more in-depth exploration of these ideas, I refer you to the interview with Emilie Wapnick on the Happen to Your Career blog, which also contains a wealth of career resources, courses, and wonderfully inspiring stories!

So, the four ways to approach being a multipotentialite at work:

The Group Hug Approach is to find a job that is inherently multi – or inter-disciplinary. In the book, Emilie names teaching, urban planning, and architecture as worlds of work that would allow someone to wear many hats and shift between several domains. In my own professional life, I have found that work in consulting, editing, career development, and translation and interpretation also allow for the exploration of many domains, and additionally feature built-in opportunities to learn and do research as part of the job.

Another aspect of this strategy – which as I reflect on it has been a big component of the advice I offer to Career Linguists – is to approach hiring managers (for those who are currently job seeking) or existing managers (for those who are currently employed) with your innovative ideas for application and connection.  Your out-of-the box thinking and ideas for how to expand and grow an existing position may well be something that they are excited to (or at least willing to) let you try out, although of course, as Emilie advises, it is always best to frame in terms of how the organization will benefit – what’s in it for them?

The Slash Approach Is best for folks with interests that widely differ. The idea here is to pursue multiple jobs that are intentionally part-time so as to allow for expression of completely separate passion projects.

One expression of the slash is the “side hustle” , which I will explore more in subsequent book reviews for such titles as Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur , Breaking Out: How to Build Influence in a World of Competing Ideas , Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World and Leap First: Creating Work That Matters

For now, know that most of these authors encourage would-be “leapers” to try the “side hustle” for a while before up and quitting a main gig if it is not sufficiently “group-hug-gy”.

The Einstein Approach is about finding a full-time job gig that fully supports you financially (named for Albert Einstein, who famously worked in a Patent Office full-time and did his scientific experiments before and after work and on the weekends), but which leaves you with the time and energy to pursue your other passions on the side. Crucial to this strategy is finding something that is mentally simulating rather than mentally exhausting, but at the same time is not so engaging that it is all consuming. Wapnicks’s observation is that one key to success here may be choosing work that draws on completely separate interests and utilizes different parts of the brain for the two so as to allow for the energy to work entirely outside of a day job. My personal take here is that such arrangements were easier to find in Einstein’s day. That said, technology and modern approaches to remote work, and more flexible work schedules – including part-time arrangements) may make up the difference in many ways.

And finally, there’s The Phoenix Approach which I guess would be the best way to describe my own career path, especially if you start the clock back when I was an investment banker in the 90’s. The Phoenix works in a single industry for a period of some duration and then moves to “something completely different” to quote our friends at Monty Python.

Taking a step back, I would argue that many academics were likely attracted to academia in the first place because of their own multipotentiality.  My own deciding to quit my job to go back to grad school in 2001 could well be seen as an expression of my “Phoenix” approach.  And because we also love to learn, we are drawn to institutions of higher learning, but the trouble is that if/when the academic route doesn’t work out, or ceases to be as interesting as it once was for any number of reasons (including a possible “call of the Phoneix”), we get stuck in thinking that the academic context is the only place where we can find such autonomy / flexibility / continual learning.

Bottom line: The world of work is changing, and one of the major ways in which it is changing is that change is now going to be the norm.  Having many interests and being good at a number of things is a strategic advantage.  I am deeply grateful for this way of thinking about career navigation and orienteering, and I welcome your own thoughts and experiences: do you see any of the multipotentialite in you?

For more from Emilie, listen to her TED talk, check out her community – the Putty Tribe and/or buy her book:

https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062566652/how-to-be-everything/

As for us, what should we read and review next?  I am always on the lookout for great books that help me think about ways of building meaning in work and life. This month in the CL (Mighty) Network, we are reading and discussing Daniel Goleman’s book Focus. Join the network to join us for that discussion on June 26th!

 

Events

Get involved the (CL) Mighty Network

Lots going on in the CL Mighty Network this month!

Attend an info session Tuesday June 12th at 3pm PDT / 6pm EDT. Attend on zoom here:
https://zoom.us/j/5272755568

Events in June: We have 1) regular work sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2) bimonthly check-ins, 3) on June 21st, we have a research workshop presentation focused on “Directives in the Workplace” featuring discussion of application of research along with brainstorming for how to use this as the basis for consulting work, 4) finally on June 26th we will be reading Daniel Goleman’s book Focus. In this bookclub discussion, we will explore the neuroscience of this essential skill so important to our personal, professional, and societal flourishing.

These events are designed for Career Linguists to create some space for reflecting on how we can pull forward linguistic thinking in solving new challenges: maybe it’s taking on new responsibilities or new challenges at work, launching a side business, or exploring deepening a sense of purpose and meaning in our engagement with work.

For students, recent grads, or a career-changers: this community can guide and support you as you identify connections between your academic and professional interests, seek challenges that speak to you, and make progress towards whatever might be your next step professionally.

Screenshot 2018-01-23 17.26.23

join the CL Mighty Network here: https://career-linguist.mn.co/

Want to learn more? Learn more about the Career Linguist Network at the info session Tuesday June 12th at 3pm PDT / 6pm EDT. Attend on zoom here:
https://zoom.us/j/5272755568


What people are saying about the CL Network:

The Career Linguist network has been enormously helpful as I transition from an academic position into consulting. It is inspiring to have a place to connect with people doing interesting and varied work outside academia. The Working Sessions have been particularly helpful and a great way for me to get to know others in our field as we work independently on a specific task for a set period of time. Anna is supportive, encouraging and the perfect facilitator. She has helped me understand the difference between a “task” and a “project” which has helped my work flow tremendously. I will definitely continue to attend when I can!

Kristy Cardellio, Ph.D.
St Petersburg, FL

I find the CL network a group of interesting and engaging career-minded individuals that are invested in not only working on their own area of expertise but also curious to hear about and provide support, if applicable, to their fellow members. The women who participate weekly in the work sessions I have attended act as a team of accountability partners that seem to keep me on track and allow me to mutually provide support for them. Anna Marie Trester, our host, is always engaging, providing a gentle guidance that allows us to focus on the work at hand in a structured group environment, using our stated intention to propel us effortlessly through our chosen assignment for each session. Because we are using the pomodoro method, of 20 minute intervals, it seems to take some of the pressure off, allowing me to concentrate on this chunk of work, rather than stressing over the full project. In the past few weeks of attending the CL work sessions, I have managed to accomplish more of my project than I have alone in a much longer time frame. I thoroughly enjoy this process and am grateful to Dr. Trester for creating such an inviting, congenial, interactive environment for peers to accomplish their goals.

Diane Quinn
New York, NY


 

Job postings

job posting: Research Assistant – American Institutes for Research (AIR)

  • Research Assistant

    Job Location US-TX-Austin
    Job ID
    10239
    Job Location
    United States

Overview

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) is one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world. AIR is a collaborative organization that works with clients to examine a wide range of projects from early childhood development to adult education as well as individual and organizational performance. AIR prides itself in conducting high-impact, high-stakes projects for significant federal, state, and private organizations. AIR’s vision is that research-based problem solving can improve the lives of all people. We are currently seeking a Research Assistant to join our Austin team.

Responsibilities

The primary responsibilities for the Research Assistant will be to support research and evaluation projects related to educational interventions and school improvement. Typical responsibilities include data collection, data management, and analysis. Hence, we are seeking someone with excellent task management/organizational skills, a strong writer, and qualitative and quantitative analysis skills. Experience in school settings also desirable.

Qualifications

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in fields such as education, sociology, psychology, statistics, or other related fields.
Experience with STATA or R is preferred.
Strong writing and organizational skills are highly desired.
Ability to work independently and as part of a team;
Interest in education research or general social science topics, survey research, and quantitative analysis.
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Events

Info session: Career Camp

Screenshot 2017-07-01 08.41.25https://careerlinguist.com/2017/06/14/career-camp-info-sessions/

Career Camp is five weeks of focused activities and structured feedback on the stories used in career interactions. The summer 2018 edition starts this Friday – May 4th!!!

Weekly activities focus on bringing a linguistic lens to the stories which comprise the texts and interactions surrounding the job search so that you have a resume that blows their SOQs off, cover letters that speak to why THEY need you, and pocket examples that show you @ work!

Join this week’s info sessions to learn more:

5/1, 11am pdt / 2 pm edt

5/3, 9am pdt / noon edt

https://careerlinguist.com/2017/06/14/career-camp-info-sessions/

Events

Info session: CL (Mighty) Network

Learn more about the Career Linguist Network at the info session Tuesday June 12th at 3pm PDT / 6pm EDT. Attend on zoom here:
https://zoom.us/j/5272755568

This network is:

For Career Linguists: to stay engaged and inspired about our field of study and get support in professional development through participation in skills-building workshops, working sessions, check-in sessions, and themed discussions.

For students, recent grads, and career-changers: to find connections between your academic and professional interests, identify challenges that speak to you, and make progress towards whatever might be your next step professionally.

For members of the Media, organizations and individuals who have language and communications challenges: we have a breadth and depth of expertise. Bring us your questions!

Membership is only $15/month for a wealth of resources, inspiration, and opportunities. Test it out for a week for free at any time, and save $ by ordering the annual plan for $149.99!

Screenshot 2018-01-23 17.26.23

Read more:

Read what people are saying about the CL Network:

I find the CL network a group of interesting and engaging career-minded individuals that are invested in not only working on their own area of expertise but also curious to hear about and provide support, if applicable, to their fellow members. The women who participate weekly in the work sessions I have attended act as a team of accountability partners that seem to keep me on track and allow me to mutually provide support for them. Anna Marie Trester, our host, is always engaging, providing a gentle guidance that allows us to focus on the work at hand in a structured group environment, using our stated intention to propel us effortlessly through our chosen assignment for each session. Because we are using the pomodoro method, of 20 minute intervals, it seems to take some of the pressure off, allowing me to concentrate on this chunk of work, rather than stressing over the full project. In the past few weeks of attending the CL work sessions, I have managed to accomplish more of my project than I have alone in a much longer time frame. I thoroughly enjoy this process and am grateful to Dr. Trester for creating such an inviting, congenial, interactive environment for peers to accomplish their goals.

Events

Webinar: Career Planning for Linguists

<this webinar has been cancelled – stay tuned for more programming from the LBA SIG and from the LSA>


 Join us for the latest in a series of webinars on career topics sponsored by the LSA’s Special Interest Group (SIG) on Linguistics Beyond Academia.

“’Planned happenstance’ Career planning for linguists” will feature linguist and career coach Jess Bennett (University of the West of England, Employability and Enterprise Services). This webinar will be an interactive and conversational exploration of the conversation that is Jess’ favorite one to navigate: “I don’t know what to do, everyone is asking me where I am going next, and all of my peers seem to have everything figured out!”  Jess will walk us through how she would approach this conversation with a linguist, touching on the following themes: Flexibly Navigating the World of Work, Uncertainty Intolerance, Reframing Networking, Approaching Career Services: Bridging the Perceived Disconnect, and Building Spaces for Collaboration.

Whether you’re a current student wondering about your future career choices, a recent graduate actively looking for work, an under- or unemployed linguist looking for ways to jump-start your career, or a mid-career linguist looking for a change, this webinar will have something for you.  There will be plenty of time for question & and answer, so come prepared.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, April 25 from 12:00 noon to 1:30 PM US EDT.

Registration is free, but priority will be given to LSA members.  Click here for more information and to register for the webinar.