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  1. #1

    Default Career Planning Exercises

    I found a decent list of career planning exercises:
    Developing a Strategic Vision for Your Career Plan

    I figured I'd list them here and see if others wanted to try them out. I'll likely post mine in a bit....though they do take quite a bit of thought.



    Short-Term Career Planning
    A short-term career plan focuses on a timeframe ranging from the coming year to the next few years, depending on the job-seeker. The key characteristic of short-term career planning is developing realistic goals and objectives that you can accomplish in the near future.

    As you begin your career planning, take the time to free yourself from all career barriers. What are career barriers? There are personal barriers (such as lack of motivation, apathy, laziness, or procrastination), family pressure (such as expectations to work in the family business, follow a certain career path, or avoidance of careers that are below your status/stature), and peer pressure. And while career planning and career decision-making is an important aspect of your life, do not put so much pressure on yourself that it paralyzes you from making any real choices, decisions, or plans. Finally, career planning is an ever-changing and evolving process -- or journey -- so take it slowly and easily.

    To help you with your career planning, consider using the following exercises to their fullest potential.

    Career Planning Exercises:

    1. Analyze your current/future lifestyle. Are you happy with your current lifestyle? Do you want to maintain it or change it? Be sure to identify the key characteristics of your ideal lifestyle. Does your current career path allow you the lifestyle you seek?
    2. Analyze your likes/dislikes. What kinds of activities -- both at work and at play -- do you enjoy? What kind of activities do you avoid? Make a list of both types of activities. Now take a close look at your current job and career path in terms of your list of likes and dislikes. Does your current job have more likes or dislikes?
    3. Analyze your passions. Reflect on the times and situations in which you feel most passionate, most energetic, most engaged - and see if you can develop a common profile of these situations. Develop a list of your passions. How many of these times occur while you are at work?
    4. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Step back and look at yourself from an employer's perspective. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Think in terms of work experience, education/training, skill development, talents and abilities, technical knowledge, and personal characteristics.
    5. Analyze your definition of success. Spend some time thinking about how you define success. What is success to you: wealth, power, control, contentment…
    6. Analyze your personality. Are you an extravert or an introvert? Do you like thinking or doing? Do you like routines or change? Do you like sitting behind the desk or being on the move? Take the time to analyze yourself first, then take one or more of these self-assessment tests.
    7. Analyze your dream job. Remember those papers you had to write as a kid about what you wanted to be when you grew up? Take the time to revert back to those idyllic times and brainstorm about your current dream job; be sure not to let any negative thoughts cloud your thinking. Look for ideas internally, but also make the effort to explore/research other careers/occupations that interest you.
    8. Analyze your current situation. Before you can even do any planning, clearly and realistically identify your starting point.
    9. Once you've completed these exercises, the next step is to develop a picture of yourself and your career over the next few years. Once you've developed the mental picture, the final step is developing a plan for achieving your goal.


    Career Planning Steps:

    1. Identify your next career move. If you have been examining multiple career paths, now is the time to narrow down the choices and focus on one or two careers.
    2. Conduct detailed career research and gather information on the careers that most interest you. Use the many resources we list in our Career Research Checklist.
    3. Pinpoint the qualifications you need to move to the next step in your career or to make the move to a new career path. If you're not sure, search job postings and job ads, conduct informational interviews, research job descriptions.
    4. Compare your current profile with the qualifications developed in step 3. How far apart are the two profiles? If fairly well-matched, it may be time to switch to a job-search. If fairly far apart, can you realistically achieve the qualifications in the short-term? If yes, move to the next step; if no, consider returning to the first step.
    5. Develop a plan to get qualified. Make a list of the types of qualifications you need to enhance your standing for your next career move, such as receiving additional training, certification, or experience. Develop a timeline and action plans for achieving each type, being sure to set specific goals and priorities
    .

    Long-Term Career Planning

    Long-term career planning usually involves a planning window of five years or longer and involves a broader set of guidelines and preparation. Businesses, careers, and the workplace are rapidly changing, and the skills that you have or plan for today may not be in demand years from now. Long-range career planning should be more about identifying and developing core skills that employers will always value while developing your personal and career goals in broad strokes.


    Core Workplace Skills: communications (verbal and written), critical and creative thinking, teamwork and team-building, listening, social, problem-solving, decision-making, interpersonal, project management, planning and organizing, computer/technology, and commitment to continuous/lifelong learning.

    Identifying Career/Employment Trends: How can you prepare for future career changes and developments? The best way is to stay active in short-term career planning. By regularly scanning the environment and conducting research on careers, you'll quickly become an expert on the career paths that interest you -- and you'll be better prepared for your next move.

    EDIT: It'll be very hard to do all the exercises at once, so I suggest people pick out one they find interesting and do that one. I will likely just go down the list one-by-one.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #2

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    Analyze your current/future lifestyle. Are you happy with your current lifestyle? Do you want to maintain it or change it? Be sure to identify the key characteristics of your ideal lifestyle. Does your current career path allow you the lifestyle you seek?

    I like my current lifestyle for the most part. However, it would be wisest for me to become healthier in terms of sleep, taking care of chores, and socializing.

    One thing that would really help in this regard is if I fulfilled some of the desires my hobbies fulfill at work. This would free up a lot of time and energy for me. The main thing my hobbies give me is intellectual challenge and fulfillment…and also a glimmer of hope that something I do will be of major importance.

    In the future, I would like to have a family, and be a good husband and father. This means I should have plenty of time with my family (and plenty of energy to have a good time with them).

    I like suburban life…the quiet, etc. I also like being able to go into the city for activities.

    I have also grown accustomed to my creature comforts, and like not having to think about money. I am not lavish, but not really frugal either.

    Then, the key characteristics of my ideal lifestyle are:
    1. Sense of importance
    2. Intellectual fulfillment
    3. Work-Life Balance
    4. Comfort


    My current career-path falls WAY short of the sense of importance. It is not meant as an insult to anyone working in the same place I am. Perhaps THEY ARE important in their current positions. I simply do not feel that way. Perhaps, it simply feels like a bad fit in that my better skills are not utilized.

    There is only a slight sense of intellectual fulfillment. There are moments when the intellectual challenge is high, but often it wavers between being just plain boring, and being impossible to meet the intellectual challenges presented (though it is always possible to circumvent meeting the intellectual challenges while still getting the jobs done).

    Work-Life balance seems very possible, but I spend so much of my free time on hobbies that the "life" part doesn't really get a chance.

    Comfort in spades. It is even a real possibility that I can retire in my late 40s, early 50s, at my current comfort level. But this does not account for family expenses.

    In short my career path needs to change…mainly to give me more of a sense of importance, more intellectual fulfillment, and desires met similar to the ones I currently meet in hobbies (so that I use my non-work time in a more healthy manner)

    Analyze your likes/dislikes. What kinds of activities -- both at work and at play -- do you enjoy? What kind of activities do you avoid? Make a list of both types of activities. Now take a close look at your current job and career path in terms of your list of likes and dislikes. Does your current job have more likes or dislikes?

    • I enjoy learning truly new things.
    • I like discussing and explaining the things I just learned.
    • I like making new things, and coming up with ideas for new things.


    • I dislike tedious or repetitive work
    • I dislike work without meaning
    • I dislike work where nothing is being learned, or if what is being learned feels trivial


    My current work is a mixed bag. There is always (seemingly) potential for the things I like on the job. However, taking approaches where I like what I am doing is often far less expedient than doing things in a more straightforward but tedious or repetitive manner.

    Analyze your passions. Reflect on the times and situations in which you feel most passionate, most energetic, most engaged - and see if you can develop a common profile of these situations. Develop a list of your passions. How many of these times occur while you are at work?

    • I loose track of time when I have a question I came up with that I really want an answer to.
    • I really like clarifying concepts and making them precise
    • I really like finding quantitative answers to questions. This is mainly in the form of equations or distributions or both.
    • I like listening to and reading interesting discussions, and occasionally participating
    • I like reading and thinking about "deep" subjects (physics, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects that aim to get at the essence of things)
    • I want to make a major global a difference in people's lives


    There is basically no scope for individual inquiry in my job. The questions I need answered are generated by my assignments.

    The work in mainly quantitative but there is far less call for equations and distributions than I anticipated. There is also some need clarify concepts to make them precise, but, again, less than I anticipates.

    The discussions at work have become less interesting as I gain experience and knowledge in the field.

    Although the work is near the cutting edge of technology, it doesn't really impact people's lives.

    There really isn't time in my work to get to the essence of things. The work seems to require staying at the surface of things for expediency.
    Last edited by ygolo; 09-11-2009 at 12:41 PM.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  3. #3
    Pose! Salt n' pepper's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing!

  4. #4
    Feelin' FiNe speculative's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting these. I am going to work through some of them later today...
    "How can I be, all I want to be,
    When all I want to do is strip away these stilled constraints
    And crush this charade, shred this sad, masquerade"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGeq5v7L3WM

  5. #5
    Member Ojian's Avatar
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    These are very helpful questions and should be useful for career planning....


    It's just that I have a really hard time answering some of them. I feel like I'm in such a rut career-wise, realize I'm not where I want to be, but have no idea where i WANT to go. I frankly don't really know what my dreams are now, and have a hard time remembering what they were as a kid.

    Nevertheless, I'm going to go thru these questions seriously. Thanks for sharing.

  6. #6
    Sniffles
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    Hey thanks for sharing. I've been looking for stuff like this!

  7. #7
    your resident asshole
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    Ick... career planning. But I really have no idea what kind of career I want and this stuff may be helpful to me in the future. Thanks for posting it.

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