Look at Careers, Work, and First Jobs Differently

About a month ago I was invited to participate on a panel to discuss how I found employment as a history major. The panel was part of a conference for history graduate and undergraduate students. After the three previous panel members described their stories, I took a somewhat surprising tack. I didn’t offer out any advice that might go on a resume, a job application, or be used in networking or interviewing. Instead, I told the assembled group of roughly 100 attendees to ask themselves two questions–1) what am I “Peyton Manning” at doing and 2) what would people pay for?

The Peyton Manning question is one I’ve mentioned before. The other is not. Reflect on this for a moment. This question represents a wholly different approach to finding work, launching a career, or navigating a job change. What will people pay for? If you put yourself in this position–what do I pay for and why–then you’ll begin to see some clarity to the issue of employment that might not have been there before. I guess it’s an entrepreneurial mindset of finding employment. It’s worth your time to ask both of these questions and to encourage people you care about to do the same.