Asking us to identify the next role we want limits us to the roles that we already knowFeatured

lauramarks's profile thumbnail
Hi McKendree! Thanks so so much for sharing this. "The problem with being asked to identify the next role or title we want is that it often limits us to the roles and titles that we already know." --- This is EVERYTHING. Not knowing what roles exist or what titles actually mean as far as day to day activities is a huge obstacle to career exploration. It also causes us to unintentionally limit ourselves -- "Oh I could never work in tech because I'm not a developer"...etc. I so so so believe that through stories we learn what's possible, which is why I think it's so important for people to share their career stories. We need to learn that careers are not linear anymore and that the most important piece is continuing to learn, explore, and evolve. I'm so grateful to Elpha for the opportunity it's created for women to share their full stories (not just the bios, but the deeper questions, the struggles, the 'how did you decide's?', etc.). I had a project where I interviewed people on their non-linear career paths and wrote about it -- and your post here is inspiring me to get back on the horse with it! ( Thank you so much for sharing these tangible steps to take. It reminds me a bit of a few activities from Design Your Life and Quarter Life Breakthrough. Taking stock of what we want, what we're learning, and creating a support system (and inspiration system) are all essential for growth -- both professional and otherwise. I'd love to connect and learn more about your story! Thanks for sharing. :)
leahnguyen's profile thumbnail
Thanks for this post - really great way to re-frame the thought process! I do an annual goal setting exercise to ground myself in priorities, across professional, personal, and health goals, and your framework is applicable across all those dimensions! It gets to the heart of "Why" do something as opposed to just the "What". I've shared that template with many of the young professionals I've mentored and it's always so exciting to see how they are able to shift their frame of reference to find goals and aspirations that are beyond the superficial.
McKendreeHickory's profile thumbnail
Thanks Laura. And totally! Been in tech most my career and have zero technical skills lol :)
MayaPapaya's profile thumbnail
I LOVE this! In my career and business coaching process I ask women to develop what I call a 'North Star'--it's a short pithy phrase or even an image (we process images 60,000 times faster than words) that describes who they want to be in 5 years, 7 years or 10 years. It can be anything from 'Be the founding director of {__new department__} in my company' to 'Work in philanthropy to bring {__new way of working__} to government.'And my students develop the north star through a design-thinking process: through doing 'precedent' research--looking at what kind of roles and jobs and goals are out there--but also using a design thinking process to dream beyond what you can see ahead so that we don't fall into that self-limiting pitfall that McKendree is pointing out that is so common when we get stuck in our echo chamber. I ask things like 'what would this role be if it was not in your current industry but one 2-3 industries over? What would a supersized (200% more ambitious) version of this look like?We do it because it's easier to make short and medium term plans when you have a long-term vision..... (but spoiler alert!) The North Star often changes, evolves (even gets bigger and more ambitious) as you pursue it. But if you're standing on the sidelines waiting to 'figure it all out' before you get started you'll never get there.It's not about the result but when you have a 'working theory' result it's easier to start the journey.
McKendreeHickory's profile thumbnail
Love the design thinking adds here. Just had me thinking, what would doing crazy 8's look like on our careers. Could be really fun!
ara206's profile thumbnail
Thank you for sharing these tips with us! I've definitely been at companies before where I've been asked "what do you want/where do you see yourself" etc but didn't feel like I had the resources to really answer those questions.
McKendreeHickory's profile thumbnail
Totally hear that! So hard when you are not actually resourced to engage that conversation effectively.
rebeccamark's profile thumbnail
This is one of the best posts I've read on the topic of architecture of a career - thank you so much for sharing, and thanks to Elpha for spotlighting.
McKendreeHickory's profile thumbnail
So glad it was helpful!!