A Note to Graduates and Everyone Else

If your job doesn’t feel like “you” but you can’t put your finger on why – pay attention. It is a clue. You may not know what it means until you string many clues together, but when you have enough experiences and combine the clues, it can lead you to what feels EXACTLY like you. ~Barbara Berger, CPC, CCC

The above is a comment I made on a LinkedIn post from Sarah Johnston asking what career advice you would give your 19-year old self. She was looking for comments, but somehow it turned into a post overnight in my head.

Do you know what geocaching is? It is like a scavenger hunt using navigation skills to find “caches” hidden all over the world. You find the hidden container, sign a log book with all the others who discovered it, take and leave a small token item, and put it back for the next treasure hunter.

Every job is a cache full of clues to your strengths, the type of environment you prefer, how you handle established workplace processes, if providing service is your thing or if designing products makes you happy, whether you like to work behind the scenes or be in front of clients, and more.

When we are propelled into the real world most of us aren’t advised to be clue collectors. We are usually:

  • Adjusting to the rat race
  • Hyper-focused on advancement and growth
  • Questioning why we didn’t continue right to grad school to delay this uncomfortable feeling of being a real adult

Who has time to think about clues? You are busy producing, fitting in, learning about office politics, going to meetings, and networking. Before our young people launch, we should be teaching them how to gather career clues from the start.

Every job is a “careercache” site. There is something of value even in a location that doesn’t feel right. If you leave the site before you find the clue, you’ve missed the point.

In an article on the Geocache.com blog, readers contributed their top 15 reasons for geocaching. Here are three that relate to careercaching as well:

  • You’ll find that discovery, exploration, and adventure still exist in the real world.
    • Reframe! Career as adventure. Really.
  • Discover places you never knew existed right in your own neighborhood.
    • Evolve! Learn new stuff about yourself.
  • You will have stories to last a lifetime.
    • “That time when I was 22 and came home from a networking event and cried for days because it all seemed so fake and I never wanted to be “one of them.”

When students are taught the art of careercaching they have a new tool to navigate challenging terrain and help them remember why they started this adventure in the first place.

My advice to the graduating class of 2018: Sign your name on the offer, stay long enough to navigate the environment and discover new gems about yourself, take a few clues with you, and leave something good for others when you go.

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/geocaching-mountain-alps-italy-540336/

Barbara reveals people to themselves. - TG

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