Job Search: Ask the Authentic Why

Over the weekend Mines hosted the annual campus wide Leadership Summit. I was on the planning committee and selected speakers for afternoon break out sessions. Perhaps I am a little bias, but the sessions were outstanding. There was a good mix of sessions on diversity, conflict management, inspiring integrity, and building a brand.

The session I am sharing a little insight from was titled “Engineering with Authentic Purpose” presented by Zach Mercurio from Colorado State University. I worked with Zach in Orientation and Transition Programs when I was a graduate student and he continues to serve as the Coordinator for Orientation and Transition Programs in the office. His presentations are always engaging and make one consider “why” he or she chooses a certain path and what truly will give meaning to one’s work. 

For those of you job searching I would argue the “why” is the question you should spend the most time reflecting on. Why did I choose this field? Why are you interested in a specific institution? Why one functional area over another? Why is this my timeline? As opposed to simply (for example) what is my timeline or what functional area? Asking the “why” requires you to dig deep and gain a greater understanding for the purpose behind your life and actions.

It is easy to get caught up into all of the excitement of job searching, but I challenge you to spend more time on your “why.”  For me, I see my purpose and my career as one and the same. I graduated from college and worked in a very different field, which I left to pursue student affairs.  This is my purpose. Map your job search in a way fitting for you and your purpose. Live your life in this way!

Zach gave three questions to consider as you seek your authentic purpose, which I think are extremely relevant for the job search. Zach suggests asking yourself:
1.      Do I kill my own dreams?
2.      Do I believe in and capitalize on the present moment?
3.      What do I desire?
Finally, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes of Zach’s presentation:

The “what” of your life and work will only ever be as good as the authentic “why” of your life and work.

Stefanie Lucas

Student Affairs - the First Years

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