Before You Start, Know Thyself

“There are three things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond, and to know one’s self.” – Benjamin Franklin as quoted in Poor Richard’s Almanac

A new reader recently reached out to me via LinkedIn and left a great comment.  She said, “I think there’s one thing that I need help with in my job hunt and that’s knowing myself. I am graduating soon and I still don’t know what I should do career wise. I am excessively curious about everything and don’t know what kind of job I should go for.”  I’m guessing she’s not the only one faced with this conundrum.  Why do I say that?  Well, you see I was in the very same position not too long ago.  Here are three tips to help you find that job that fits you perfectly:

Discover your values and beliefs.  What are they?  Beliefs are concepts that we hold to be true, determining our attitudes and opinions.  Values are ideas that we hold to be important, governing the way we behave, communicate and interact with others.  This is a time that you should spend on yourself.  Find time with your family learning the why of their core values.  Does this career opportunity and company align?  Research to find out!  The best technology is available to you via the internet.  Whether you use Google, Bing, or Yahoo, research the company, learn what the culture is like (network with people who work there) and determine if this is a fit for you.

Try new things.  We all don’t know what we want to do when we grow up.  Depending on when you asked me, my job interests have ranged from cowboy (age 4) to marine biologist (high school) to doing cartoon voices like the legend, Mel Blanc.  Ok…that might still be a job interest.  🙂  Find out what really interests you by seeing the full job in action.  Try job shadowing with someone who holds a position that interests you. You’ll find out what you don’t do well and don’t want to do at all very quickly.  Use job shadowing as a way to find what you really want to do, one day at a time.

Fail spectacularly.  We all make mistakes and fail from time to time.  The smartest people in business aren’t perfect.  They just know who to properly recalibrate when they do fail, so they’re prepared next time.  Failure can be a teacher or the Master, so don’t let it rule you.  Find something positive from your mistakes, adjust accordingly and move forward.  Don’t be afraid to fail, and when you do, do it spectacularly.  What does that mean?  It means that you don’t hold back – believe in what you’re doing!

These are simply three suggestions.  You’re the one to make it happen, so do what makes the most sense for you.  Have a recommendation?  Leave a comment and help add to this article.  I’ve learned a lot from my readers (thanks Jenny, for inspiration to write this article) over the past few years and continue to be inspired and amazed by the way good people help others in need.  So, thanks for reading.  Pay it forward.  You’ll be glad you did.


3 thoughts on “Before You Start, Know Thyself

  1. Once you know your key traits – how you see yourself and how others see you – you can go some way to discovering what companies you’re best suited to.

    Take a look at ViewsOnYou – Once you’ve built your public 360 profile with your own self review and peer reviews, you can discover your key traits, how you work, think and interact, and match yourself with the culture of leading companies.

    For example, see if you’re a closer fit to Microsoft or Apple employees, what makes you different, and what traits you share.


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