Oh how I wish I could be Lloyd Dobler’s career coach. Before you begin to worry about me, I fully recognize that he is a fictional character. Lloyd is the star character in the movie Say Anything starring John Cusack. This film was a huge part of my adolescence and has stayed with me since. There are many famous quotes in this movie. One of my favorite quotes, is Lloyd’s response to the question of what he wants to do:
“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”
Essentially… Lloyd has no idea what he wants to do for a career. That’s not uncommon. What is also common is that Lloyd starts with a list of what he does know. He knows what he doesn’t want to do. He is narrowing down the field. Whether he realizes it or not, he is establishing criteria for which to compare careers.
Great careers align with your values, interests & skills
If I were Lloyd’s career coach, we would spend time looking at his values, interests and skills. We know what he doesn’t want to do, so I would help him identify what he may WANT to do! His values will act as a guide for him like lights on a runway (a paraphrase from a client). His interests would tell us what he gets energy from and would enjoy doing on a recurring basis. We would also look at his skills and identify the ones he wants to utilize in his career.
It’s important to look at all 3 of these but today I’ll focus on skills and how you can articulate your skills and start to identify career choices that may be a good match. Many of the clients I work with complete a skills exercise in our sessions. This exercise helps them identify and prioritize the skills they want to utilize in their career. Then we discuss careers aligned with the skills. This is a jumping off point for my clients. It gives them some ideas to start exploring. Oftentimes, we just need a starting place or some initial ideas to get us moving toward identifying a satisfying career.
Exercise: My Next Move
If you want to do an exercise on your own, consider mynextmove.org. You can enter search terms, like skills, into the search box and you will get a list of careers that match the keywords. It is unlikely this list is going to generate the one perfect career you were looking for. Instead it is a starting place – a jumping off point – for you to begin researching careers that may be the right match for you.
Skills, interests and values are important components when deciding on a career. Each person will place a different value on the three categories. For some, working in their interest area is the most important component of deciding on a career. For others, it will be utilizing skills or talents and for others the career must be aligned 100% with their values. Having gotten to know Lloyd from the movie, I would guess he would place a high emphasis on the career aligning with his values, then his interests, then his skills. It’s too bad that I will never actually find out, but the movie is spectacular as is.
Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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