Catalogue Your Activities and Achievements

Catalogue Your Activities and Achievements
“You have a master’s degree in accounting, a certificate in social work, an article published on nutrition. Your achievements are like a roomful of uncatalogued museum exhibits. No one can find your gestalt.”

The above is a quote from When is Enough Enough? What You Can Do if You Never Feel Satisfied by Laurie Ashner and Mitch Meyerson. Ashner and Meyerson’s work is one of the first self-help books I purchased back in the 1990’s and is still one of my favorites. I believe what the authors are saying is that it’s not advisable to pursue too many interests as it makes it more difficult to discern the patterns in your life.

My argument is this: maybe being a multi-faceted professional *is* your pattern. Maybe the person Ashner and Meyerson described is working for a health/nutrition oriented social service agency and decided to get a fiscally oriented master’s degree to enter into upper echelons of nonprofit management. Then each achievement would be a feather in his or her cap.

On the other hand, I’ve read enough about careers to know that when you’re resume is diverse, it’s hard for employers to know what kind of job you’re seeking. A functional resume can take care of that problem in terms of presenting yourself to the public. However there is another level of organization that you must achieve—and that is within.

Whether you’re a multi-faceted professional or you’re career and interests are straight as an arrow, still you must have concrete reasons for doing what it is that you do.

And how do you determine if you are doing the right thing? The answer comes from self-help 101, you must be in touch with your values, your purpose, the big picture that is your life.

Create a Priorities/Task Matching Chart

This chart is my own creation and inspired by my children’s elementary school homework assignments. Every so often I’ll select about twenty items on my Master To Do list. I’ll list these activities in one column on the left hand side of a page. Next, I’ll create a second column to the right of the first, which consists of my four major career goals.

Then I draw a line from each activity on the left to the appropriate career goal on the right. If while doing this I find that I can’t link an activity with a career goal and the item is not a necessity for anyone, then I cross that thing right off of my list. When I do this I feel a sense of gratification. Knowing what you don’t want is very important because it frees you to pay attention to what you do want. As Andrea Molloy writes in Stop Living Your Job Start Living Your Life “by focusing on your priorities, you will automatically make room for what matters most to you.”

And if you’re still trying out a number of different things unsure of where you’ll land, take heart. Stedman Graham, author of Diversity: Leaders, Not Labels,” told the New York Post that “sometimes it takes doing a bunch of jobs to figure out what your passion is.”

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