But Do You Really Know What You Want?

Explore Preferences

If you don’t know what you want, it will be hard to make confident choices.

You will learn more about yourself through your coursework, internships, jobs, and extracurricular activities, so use that information to decide what matters to you.  Try this quick exercise at the end of each quarter.

Record your answers to these questions:

  1. What tasks, responsibilities, and subjects did I really enjoy?
  2. How did I improve the world through my efforts and which results were most meaningful to me?
  3. What kind of work style did I most enjoy (for example, was highly collaborative teamwork more fun or was it better to figure out solutions to problems alone?)

If you do this periodically, you will soon have a clear picture of the kind of work you want to do, and that will make it easier to choose a next role, job, or project that really excites you!

More to Ponder

Here are some answers my clients have come up with. Food for thought as you ponder what matters to you!

What tasks, responsibilities, and subjects did I really enjoy?

  • Solving problems on pen and paper
  • Building models with spreadsheets that help drive leadership decisions
  • Facilitating smooth communication among my team
  • Designing systems, programs, and policies
  • Research
  • Receiving and applying training
  • Aggregating anecdotal data to craft a story
  • Translating – languages, cultures, and mindsets
  • Writing and public presentations
  • Planning and hosting events
  • Coding
  • Troubleshooting errors in software
  • Number crunching
  • Starting something from scratch and finishing it; I love to see the end results
  • Quantifying things
  • Planning and organizing trips for large groups of people
  • Mentoring and developing people
  • Leadership and responsibility
  • Meeting with clients – being able to win business
  • Negotiating fees
  • Business planning

How did I improve the world through my efforts and which results were most meaningful to me?

  • I helped build a school.
  • Someone I mentored got promoted.
  • I learned to do something I thought I could never do.
  • My client made a very big decision with confidence because of my analysis.
  • I helped my company save $10,000 by streamlining an internal process.
  • I was the youngest person to get promoted to my current level.
  • I made life easier for the people I was working with by teaching them how to do their job better.
  • As a result of my initiative, my company is now more socially responsible.
  • There is now clean drinking water in a small to

What kind of work style did I most enjoy?

  • I liked brainstorming ideas with the group and then going off and thinking more about it by myself.
  • Locked alone in my office for hours playing with data.
  • Working together with my team, leveraging everyone’s strengths to reach a faster outcome.
  • I enjoyed group meetings with a lot of laughing.
  • Although I definitely want to have some time to work on certain things by myself, I like it when we all come together and celebrate success.
  • I love the team room. We’re together all the time. So much fun!
  • I make it a point to help everyone work on their weaknesses on team projects. it’s a balance between teamwork and individual striving to grow from the experience.
  • Sometimes I just have to talk things through with others. I need to collaborate to find the best answer.