Venn Diagrams and career planning

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Mental Reboot, Reboot Process
Tags: , , , ,

One of the primary reasons that I’m taking some time away from a conventional workplace is to try to improve my general capacity to learn as I think this will make me more effective in work and life in general.

But I wanted to take a step back and spend some time on the other primary reason, which I tend to think of as the quest for my next career.  Or what I want to do when I grow up 🙂

One of the images that stuck in my head is a Venn diagram that I heard described in a podcast.  Which is somewhat odd in itself, in that it’s an ‘image’ that I ‘heard.’  In any case I won’t burden you with whatever incipient synesthesia that I am apparently dealing with.  Here’s what I heard/saw:

Career Options

Kind of speaks for itself doesn’t it?  Quite simple – fill in the circles with skills/careers described by the text and shoot for something that lands in the triangle in the center and the problem is solved.  Of course if you’re at all like me you have this slightly uneasy feeling that the diagram might actually look more like this:


And even  though every job I’ve ever held has had very enjoyable aspects, I have to admit that my career choices have been pretty biased by a diagram that looks like this:


Now  that’s a perfectly good picture, especially if you are of the type (and I’m not judging here at all) that can choose such a career and use the proceeds from your job to do something on the side that contributes to the core of your happiness.   I have tried this with some success at times, but it never feels quite right to me.  I get too absorbed in my workplace to make that kind of work/life partitioning effective.

I also think that a fourth component should be ‘Things that provide value to society’ and in some sense that probably overlaps in a different way with the ‘Things that people will pay me to do’ circle, possibly even in a way that makes it a single component at least at a high level.  But I’ll have to give that a bit more thought.  And while I’m on crazy sidetracks, I wonder if there is any objective way to determine the relative size of the circles?

In any case, I’m not quite sure where that overlap is for me right now.  And building new skills will hopefully change where it is in the future.  But the obvious next step is to try filling out the diagram with actual data to see where it lands me and if it ends up in a readable state I’ll post it here.

I wonder if such a diagram would be a useful part of a resume?  Just joking. Really.  I wouldn’t actually do that.

P.S. I can’t for the life of me remember the podcast that started me down this track.  I think it might have been one from the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series, but I’ve been listening to them in a scattershot way so I don’t have any hope of zooming in on the correct one.  If anyone knows, please pass it along so (a) I can give credit where it is due and (b) I can see how close my memory is to what I originally heard.

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