Thursday, April 24, 2008

Scoring Dream Job Takes Persistence

Alexandra Levit is a career coach, author and speaker, and has a new book, "How'd You Score That Gig." I recently asked her a few questions about her book.

1. What inspired you to write "How'd You Score That Gig?"
The idea originated as a result of several conversations I overheard at friends’ dinner parties. It seemed that someone at every event always had a job that totally intrigued the rest of the group. People were completely captivated by this individual, and were always curious to know how the person scored the gig, and what exactly it entailed.

2. You give career advice, but what did you learn about career strategies from the people you interviewed?
I learned so much from my more than 120 interviewees. The most important takeaway was that what sets apart people who have their dream jobs from people who don't is persistence. Talent is great, but persistence is better. These individuals were willing to keep plugging away at these competitive careers until something panned out. They didn't give up until they had the work situation they wanted, and that was so inspiring to me.

3. Can you tell us about the "passion profiles" and what they mean?
I researched various personality type measures to develop my seven “passion profiles” – adventurer, creator, data-head, entrepreneur, investigator, networker, and nurturer – and placed the 60 cool jobs into the appropriate categories. At the beginning of the book, readers take a quiz to determine the passion profile(s) that suit them best, and are then able to explore relevant careers. With the help of my husband, who's a clinical psychologist, I was able to construct fairly detailed descriptions of each profile.

For example,"networkers" always have a ringing phone and a full dance card. They thrive on keeping busy and managing a diverse array of responsibilities. Networkers seek out group relationships and emphasize interpersonal fulfillment and influencing change. They need personal contact and surround themselves with people who respect them. Networkers are gracious and generous with people who share their values, but, as leaders, they may be critical of those who won’t commit or give 100 percent to a task. Though they are generally well-liked due to their excellent social and persuasive skills, they can be over-sensitive and too emotionally invested in a job, always warding off fears that they don’t fit in.
The “team player” networker likes to consult a variety of points of view in order to make a decision.

4. What do you think is a common mistake young people make that leads them to hating a job?

Finding a career that will fulfill you personally and professionally requires exploration, and a great deal of trial and error. Young people usually hate their jobs because of unfulfilled expectations. Although the individuals profiled in my book love their jobs, even they don’t believe there’s a such thing as the perfect work situation. Every job has its ups and downs, and aspects we love and aspects we don’t love. This is a hard, but necessary lesson that I had to learn when I succeeded in my dream job of being a book author!


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