The idea is to figure out what you already know so you can see what kind of jobs align with them. I had a lot of fun figuring out what I already knew.
The suggested categories to think about what you already know are this:
Studied in High School or College or Graduate School
Learned on the Job
Learned from Conferences, Workshops, Trainings, and Seminars
Learned at Home: Reading, TV, tape programs, study courses
Learned in my Leisure Time: Volunteer Work, Hobbies, etc.
I like to collect information, so I didn’t want to tackle these lists just off the top of my head. I knew I had most of this written down, but the question was where. Here’s the list of where I knew I could find things, basically lined up with the above list:
High school, college, and grad school transcripts
My “master” resume that lists all the jobs I’ve ever had
My Evernote account, where I keep notes on all the things that interest me
My list of e-courses I’ve taken
My Goodreads account, which lists all the books I’ve read in the last five years
My home, which has all my hobbies and projects strewn around
What Color Is Your Parachute? says, “this chart is asking you what subjects you know anything about, not whether you like the subject or not. […] Put down something you’ve only read a few articles about (if it interests you) side by side with a subject you studied for three semesters in school.”
So I did.
And I came up with a chart that is too long to share with you easily. I tried taking a picture, but I used a separate price if printer paper for each category. I ended up making a page for this, which you can find at this link and on a tab at the top of the page.
Take a look, it’s long and ungainly. But no matter, there’s still work to be done.
The next step is to make a matrix, which will help to identify what I’m enthusiastic about, and what I have expertise in. This is what that chart looks like, for me: It isn’t supposed to be used like an axis, but I kind of did it that way. Of course, administrative tasks aren’t really my most enthusiastic and expert knowledge, but I am pretty serious about canvassing being something I am an expert at but one of my least favorite knowledges.
As you can see, I have a lot of things that I am enthusiastic about, but do not consider myself an expert in. I am actually probably something of a “scanner,” which is what Barbara Sher calls people who like to learn lots of things, and feel stiffled when they’re asked to choose. Which made the next part difficult.
The next part was to choose my three favorite knowledges, and begin thinking about where they might intersect. You’ll see from the picture that I didn’t choose three. I chose three categories of favorite knowledges.
I think that some of my favorite knowledges are: peer coaching/tutoring, adult learning, research, and communication. I also think that social policy, family and marriage, pregnancy and parenting, and self-compassion are also things that I really enjoy knowing about and using. And finally, in the third circle, I put that I know a lot about seeing the big picture and pulling out meaning, and that is something I want to do in my grown up job.
I think these are all subjects that are related. I think that I could perhaps boil the first circle down to communication, the second circle down to policies that effect people’s personal lives and the third one is pretty boiled down.
And actually, this relates well to the things I discovered in step zero. These all seem to be about the creation of meaning, forging connections with others, making the world a better place, and the creation and collection of knowledge. Pretty cool.
This is what my “One Piece of Paper” Looks like right now:
(As a reward, I bought myself another dress. It’s this one, also from Target. I should get it tomorrow in the mail!)