Helping people explore their aptitudes is one of my favorite steps within the Crossroads Career methodology. Almost every time I’m facilitating or coaching someone, I get to see people discover insights as they realize more clearly who God made them to be.
Psalms 139:13-14 states, “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
During the month of November, our blogs will focus on different ways you might be able to gain some of those same insights. Today, I want to share with you a simple and quick, but profound, exercise to help you glimpse a little more deeply into who you are. It’s the First Job, Worst Job, and Best Job exercise.
What was your first job? I define that as the first job where you had to regularly and responsibly perform a task…not the occasional odd job. Perhaps that was babysitting, lawn mowing, tassling corn (A Midwestern favorite), washing dishes, or being a host/hostess. Think back about that job – the environment you were in, the people you worked with, the nature of the work, and what you liked and disliked about it. Write down a few descriptors to reflect your thoughts.
Next, what was your worst job? Why did your mind immediately recognize that job as your worst job? Slow your mind down and walk through how you were hired into that job, when you realized you didn’t care for it, and how you exited that job? What was the environment, your pay, the nature of the work, and the characteristics of the people with whom you worked, and what the pros/cons were that perhaps kept you in that job for as long (or as short) as you performed it? Again, please get a few thoughts down on paper.
Now, to end on a high note, what was your best job? What attributes of this job helped you form the quick answer to that question? What nuances possibly shaped your answer? What were some absolutes in your recognition of this role as the best one? What aspects of the answers were in your control and what was out of control? Did the time you worked just fly by? Did it even feel like work? Why was that? Yep, you guessed it, write some answers down.
Ok, you’re done! What’s the point? As you review your answers, look for both patterns of evidence for where you “fit” and where you don’t. Think through how you might be able to refine your job search to explore opportunities that feed into the positive attributes and limit the negative ones.
We are all unique individuals created by God. Yet we share some common qualities as human beings. We have tendencies and patterns of behaviors that, if we take a few minutes to recognize them, can help us be more targeted and productive in our job search. Keep learning and keep praying for God to illuminate more clearly who He created you to be!
Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.