As an intern and soon-to-be graduating grad student, I’ve had my share of worries when it comes to the job market. After earning my undergraduate degree a few years ago, I had two part-time jobs: retail sales associate and substitute teacher’s aide. As much as part-time employment is the dream of every college graduate, I aspired to find passion in my work. So I asked myself: what did I like about my jobs?
I liked answering questions and conversing with customers. I liked stocking shelves and “facing the store,” which is the fun retail way of saying you want to keep everything neat, organized and presentable to the public. Working as an aide in elementary and high school classrooms, I enjoyed watching and encouraging the learning process. As I recalled once working as a desk assistant in a university library and made connections to my current skills and interests, I suppose it isn’t a big mystery how I came to study library science.
Considering my options as I’m about to enter the professional workforce once again, I was drawn to reading Sean Aiken’s The One-Week Job Project. As a young man not sure what he wants to do with the rest of his life, he embarks on a one-year journey to take one new job for every week in the year. After 52 weeks and 52 jobs, he hopes he can learn enough from his constantly changing employers and co-workers to discover what he enjoys, what he would like to avoid, and what makes him passionate about going to work every day.
Like Aiken, I learned that if you take time to consider where you are in life, whether you’re pleased or wanting more, you can always benefit from a little self-assessment. And sometimes you might find yourself packing a bag and hitting the road, whether for fun or for grad school (like me!). I met a lot of new people on my own self-assessing adventure and learned a lot about life and work as well. Most importantly I learned that no matter a person’s role–friend, colleague or manager–the ability to positively influence another, whether personally or professionally, is one of the best qualities that anyone could have and share…and one quality I look forward to bringing to my next employer.
Happy springtime everyone!