Friday, April 27, 2012

Job Hunter: Flower Exercise ... The First Half

Remember last week when I said that one of my goals was to complete the flower exercise from What Color is Your Parachute? For those of you who don't know, the Flower Exercise is about getting to know yourself, first and foremost. How can you market yourself to employers if you don't know what knowledge you have that is truly marketable, what your working environment and condition priorities are, what level of responsibility/salary you require, the location you prefer, the goals/values you wish to fulfill, and finally, what skills you hope to use. Essentially, Richard Bolles calls this "that one piece of paper" and it holds all of you within its confines.

Well, I unwittingly set that goal without realizing precisely how much work was involved with it, and as such, you will only received the first three steps in this week's installment. I started the exercise on Wednesday, beginning with Step 1. Step 1 is a process of identifying what knowledge you already have, regardless of whether it was gained on the job, at home, as a hobby, or in school. I completed mine in a word document and it took up three whole pages and felt certain I was leaving out essential knowledge. But that's ok - I can always return and add more later, right?

Onto the second step: "What are your preferred people-environments that you most like to work with, or serve and help?" (pg. 206).  Bolles provides six different types: The Realistic, The Investigative, The Artistic, The Social, The Enterprising, and The Conventional. According to his source, John Holland, everyone has three preferred people-environments. And wouldn't you know it, but I found three of them repulsive and the other three perfect fits (The Investigative, The Artistic, and The Social)! However, I was surprised when it came to my ordering.

The Investigatives are people who are very curious, liking to investigate or analyze things. The Artistic are people who are imaginative and innovative, and the Social are people who are bent on trying to help, teach or serve people. If you know me well, you might think I chose the Social first, since that is the field I am currently working in, but actually, it appealed to me the least of the three. If figuring out which ones appeal to you and which jobs are associated with each, go to this website and check it out!

For the final installment in the first half of the flower exercise, Bolles asks "What working conditions do you like best, because they enable you to do your most effective work?" He provides a guide to help you answer this question, a chart divided into four columns. The first lists all the places you have worked, thus far in your life; the second is what working conditions just don't work for you; the third is a ranking of those conditions from the absolute worst to the least worst; and the fourth column is the opposite of those awful conditions, in order - or otherwise known as the keys to being effective. He also provides a neat little chart to help you prioritize, if you can't figure that out on your own.

So get started! I will post a picture of my "one piece of paper" next week when it's all complete! Until then, pray for my cramping fingers. It's a lot of writing.

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