You’re the Engineer in charge of You, so CHARGE!

Nancy Anderson
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In our last session I challenged you with some tough work to find out who you really are as a start to targeting the next steps in your career. I suggested you use online tools to examine your values, core philosophies, your talents, skills, interests, and to find how all of those attributes overlap. Deciphering the honest answers I hope that you recorded, is next.

If you worked hard you probably sit amid an array of test scores, notes, question statements, and probably own a little bit of a headache. If so, GOOD! That means you put forth honest effort! It also means that within that information you found answers that you didn’t expect!

I consider Jay Block’s book 101 Best Ways To Land A Job In Troubled Times as one the most current and direct step by step guidelines to help find out who you are and where you will steer your course. I suggest you get your hands on a copy of this book to see how all that thinking last week fits into the intricate puzzle that Jay’s book breaks down to incremental steps.

The process will walk you through a distillation of life and career values, activities you like, and what is actually available in the job markets right now. Complete these exercises to be able to succinctly state your values. I also use his Circle of Options tool. I used it, several times, it works! When finding new employment, the circle tool presents four basic queries. Are you looking for:


  • The Same kind of Job in the Same industry?

  • A New kind of Job in the Same Industry?

  • The Same kind of Job in a New Industry?

  • A New kind of Job in a New Industry?


No, that’s not a riddle, read that a couple more times. Are we beginning to detect a glimmer of why I said “congratulations” on losing your job?

My word “Job” means any series of meaningful tasks that generate monetary value; not necessarily a place of employment again. Too be clear, I’m not knocking the “job” concept. Many of us will find that it is our preferred fit, Go for It! Often that IS what comes out of this analysis. Many professionals are most comfortable in that structured environment (and regular paycheck).

The free agent concept starts to pull into focus when some of us embrace the last two bullet points. Like me, you may find that although the pay and prestige was good at that old JOB, you actually became very proficient at work that lost its novelty many years ago. For others your analysis may show that you still like the type of work, but not in that format. For still others, self employment, contract work, and temp jobs are the answer.

HEY, I never said this was easy! What I said is that you are the engineer in charge. We began to focus on our values and attributes. As engineers we all appreciate structure and reason. Next week we will enhance the structure of our career design with strategies to build that bridge to the work you'll be in charge of!


K.B. Elliott is a Detroit area contributing writer for Nexxt. Having worked seats on both sides of the engineering trades for over 30 years gives a unique perspective to the work search process and the varieties of successes to be had.

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