When I go to the library to pick up my books that are on hold, I often browse around and come home with a bunch of books that look interesting at the time. This time I got How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric. Of course, who can resist an alluring title like that? Especially when working on a career change!
It’s got an interesting exercise that I hadn’t heard of before. It’s the “reverse job ad”. Instead of looking at what a job advertisement wants, you advertise what you have. So you write a half-page about yourself, but it doesn’t include any previous jobs or qualifications. You write about your passions, interests, skills, and any dealbreakers. For example, you might write that you speak Norwegian, love cats, make excellent pie. Your personality is bubbly but impatient and you hate sports. You want a job with flexible hours and not in a cubicle. You are habitually messy, and passionate about reproductive rights. Or whatever it is. Don’t specify the job you’re looking for.
Now here’s the interesting part. You send this “personal job ad” to ten different people who have very diverse jobs and backgrounds and lives. For example, a police officer, vet tech, organic gardener, banker, cartoonist, bus driver, accountant, teacher, doctor, and a welder. Ask them to be very specific about what kind of job they think you should have, based on the description. The book uses the example, don’t say ‘you should work with children.’ Instead say, ‘you should do charity work with street kids in Rio’.
You are likely to get a wide variety of answers, some of which you’ve never thought of before.
#2 is skeptical that following these exact steps would work well anywhere outside of, say, Southern California. But maybe a more muted and more professional version that’s presented informally (say verbally at a cocktail party, or as a facebook/blog post).
Has anyone done something like this, or would you? How would you describe yourself?