‘Painting’ a Picture of Your Dream

For a number of years I taught an undergraduate course on career theories. Hang in there; I am not about to anesthetize you with the syllabus. As you may imagine, the content was a bit challenging and it took some imagination and good humor to engage students in the material.

In a nutshell, our career decisions reflect three major spheres of influence:

Our individual background including: age, gender, self concept, personality, values, ability and interests

Our social circle: family, friends, community, workplace and education

Our environment: political decisions, globalization, job market, socio-economic status and geographic location

All three are parts of a puzzle, when solved reveals a picture of our future.

Back to the undergraduate class. I think it helps to visualize how all these parts come together. To do this, we came up with the idea to create a collage that would illustrate, for each student, the evolution of their dream.

Starting with stacks of old magazines, poster board and lots of glue we all found our spot on the floor and returned to our kindergarten days, cutting and pasting, creating a vision that incorporated values, hopes, dreams and detours. In the subsequent class each student had the opportunity to present their collage and articulate their career vision. Lively discussion followed and in one case, a student who was being influenced to join a family business, found a substitute to introduce to his father – another classmate whose dream was to work in the type of organization his father managed.

All this to suggest a way to uncover your passion is to create a visual that creates a narrative for your journey. You can go old school and create a collage or use Pinterest to start a ‘career board’.

Creating a visual representation of your work life is a learning process, confirming your values and setting your GPS toward your career home.




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