When choosing a college, ask ‘Who will I become?’

The questions we ask when selecting an undergraduate or graduate program focus on the financial and vocational. What will it cost? Will I get a job when I graduate? What we miss is the critical question. Who will I become?

It’s not a question just for philosophy majors.

Each university community is a micro culture defined by traditions, behaviors and beliefs. Even the most jaded will be transformed by the experience. That’s why imagining your selfie in four years is as important as financial and career planning.

The Atlantic’s senior editor, Derek Thompson acknowledged this developmental progression when he examined the impact of college choice on future success.

“While hundreds of thousands of 17- and 18-year-olds sit around worrying that a decision by a room of strangers is about to change their lives forever, the truer thing is that their lives have already been shaped decisively by the sum of their own past decisions—the habits developed, the friends made, and the challenges overcome. Where you go to college does matter, because it’s often an accurate measure of the person you’re becoming.”

If you accept that college is a point on the developmental continuum, your challenge is to find a place where your past intersects with your optimal opportunity for continued growth.

If place defines you, it’s a campus where you’ll discover the gaps in your experience and explore every possible resource to fill in the blanks. Networking will not be an abstract process for job search, but a four year active engagement with faculty, administrators and colleagues.

Your future is not determined by the decision of an admissions committee, but by the sum of your individual decisions over time, and who you will become.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does your resume reflect your values?

Yesterday was #GivingTuesday, a day to give back after the frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Let’s start a new tradition, #ValuesWednesday and do a quick audit of our community involvement activities over the past year, and update our resumes to reflect our values.

It’s not just our individual contributions to our local area, but the activities aligned with the places we work. As a new employee at Salesforce you spend your first day outside the office working for a community non-profit organization. It’s a clear message that ‘giving back’ is part of the corporate DNA.

“Salesforce operates on what it calls a “1-1-1” philanthropy approach, in which it supports local nonprofits by giving 1 percent of its products, 1 percent of its equity and 1 percent of its employees’ time.

As an added incentive, employees get six paid days off a year to volunteer. If they complete that, they receive a $1,000 grant to donate to a nonprofit of their choice.”

Most folks forget to include a community involvement section on their resume and omit a key component of their work narrative.

Your resume should communicate what’s important to you. It’s a living document that reflects your commitment @work and in your community.

Conducting a ‘values audit’ is not only an exercise to build your resume, it’s a way to evaluate how you set your priorities over the past year. If you notice your perception is out of balance with reality, you may want to consider the work/family pressures that redirected your plans. If work and values are coming unglued, expand your audit to take in the bigger picture of career/life decisions.

Po Bronson wrote an article for Fast Company magazine 13 years ago. It’s a piece that continues to resonate over time as it applies to our life @work.

“Every industry has a culture. And every culture is driven by a value system.

One of the most common mistakes is not recognizing how these value systems will shape you. People think that they can insulate themselves, that they’re different. They’re not. The relevant question in looking at a job is not What will I do? but Who will I become? What belief system will you adopt, and what will take on heightened importance in your life? Because once you’re rooted in a particular system — whether it’s medicine, New York City, Microsoft, or a startup — it’s often agonizingly difficult to unravel yourself from its values, practices, and rewards. Your money is good anywhere, but respect and status are only a local currency. They get heavily discounted when taken elsewhere. If you’re successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and opportunity can lock you in forever.”

On this #ValuesWednesday, ask yourself, Who’s driving the values bus? Are you morphing into a corporate clone or maintaining the integrity of your personal value system? We’re not talking mutually exclusive terms here, just taking an annual values audit.