The Career Contender – Who Am I?

“You don’t understand. I could have had class. I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody, instead of a bum — which is what I am.” – Marlon Brando – On the Waterfront

So you’ve just graduated college. Four, maybe five (or more), years of hard (?) work have been dedicated to getting a small piece of nicely embossed paper. You feel a little ripped off and don’t quite understand how this piece of paper differentiates you from the rest of the world. Let me sooth your worries by saying that you have now taken a vital step in differentiating yourself from the rest of the workforce. You have taken the time and the effort to procure yourself a tool set that employers will look upon favorably. At this moment it doesn’t matter what your degree is in or where your degree is from. What matters is that you are able to set a goal and achieve it.

Great, now that I have assuaged maybe one of your worries, you are still confused as to what to do next. I’m guessing you received your degree from an “accredited” institution and they likely have a career center. While you should take advantage of all opportunities available to you…you are clearly at your computer right now and don’t need me to tell you that you need to exit the house. Besides, leaving now to go to the career center won’t be much help to you if you don’t know YOU!

Quick, right now, what do you want to do for the rest of your life? Blanking? Don’t be concerned. I would be willing to bet that the majority of the population, young and old, would not be able to answer that question and believe whole heartedly in what they say.

As a child it was easy. We weren’t hampered down by things such as salary, schooling, prestige, retirement, job security, supporting a family, mortgage payments, economic shocks or any of the other annoying things that invade the “big kid” world. That’s why it was so easy to say fireman, policeman, astronaut, artist, pro athlete, surfer, etc. It’s almost sad at times to think about having to “grow up”. But, this is where you have to make a decision to take charge of your life. The date has changed, your interests may of changed and you certainly have more experience as a human being. It is now time to evaluate yourself and your desires.

To first figure out where you want to go, you must figure out where you are now. One method I would suggest is doing a personal inventory. Take a piece of paper and a pen and proceed to list your name, address, phone numbers, hobbies, likes, dislikes, favorite color, places you have traveled, favorite sound, favorite smell and whatever else you want to list. If you have something like Facebook or Myspace this process can go pretty quick. I strongly urge you to write it down physically on a piece of paper with a pen or pencil and refuse to erase. Writing invokes all of your sense and makes the experience that much more real and intimate. If something is worth your effort to write it in the first place, it is likely important to you somehow. Should you change your mind, don’t erase but cross out the “incorrect” item. Hopefully, when you have completed this exercise you will have a good understanding of who you are as a person. (Be honest with yourself. If you have to lie to yourself, then I suggest seeking professional help because I will not be able to help you be happy.)

Now that we know what composes you as a person, how does that person act? Take an inventory of your hobbies and a critical look at your social relationships. Are you a person that spends most of your time on the computer? Do you prefer to be outdoors? Do you have a small group of really close friends? Do you have a large group of “part-time” friends?

I’m not here to judge you and you shouldn’t judge yourself. We are who we are and when we accept that we can start to have a truly happy and fulfilled life.

While these form the basic concepts of introverted and extroverted personalities, in the modern age things aren’t so black and white. All jobs require you to interact with people. Therefore, even if you are extremely introverted, you will have to work on communicating with other human beings. That’s why it is up to you to figure out how all the pieces fit together. Understanding what you like, dislike and how you best interact with other humans will be the foundation of your career search.

I feel that we have a decent start on our career path. You should have one sheet of paper now that describes who you are in a nutshell. This will be the foundation for everything to come. It will save time in the future and be immensely valuable to you if you actually do write down the personal inventory. (To save even more time, I would suggest writing down past jobs and experiences you have had.) Should you want more insight, there are many tools on the internet to assist in profiling your personality. There are some at (You will have to sign up for an account, but if you follow this series you will likely be signing up anyway.) They can give you a decent understanding of what type of work environment would best suit you. Other than that I recommend using Google or your favorite search engine to find resources. There is a lot of garbage to sift through if you go this method. Or, you could get up off your butt and go down to your college career center. I’m sure that they will have a number of tools that you can use to profile yourself and more.

As Always Happy Hunting!

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