“What’s next for you?”

This is the never-ending question that I don’t quite have an answer to yet, but people have been asking me for days.

In my quest to figure out the answer, it may (or may not) be helpful to reflect on my career to date. Suffice it to say, I haven’t had the most traditional career path compared to most people I know (perhaps the reason why I was asked to speak at the Alt Path conference a couple of months ago). I went to school and obtained a liberal arts degree, double majoring in English Literature and Foreign Language (Spanish), minoring in Political Science. Most people thought I would go on to teach, but I really just wanted to go on to do anything that my skill set was a good fit for: writing, analysis, time management, people & project management…the list goes on. With the referral of a boss, I ended up interviewing with and landing a job at Amica Insurance Company as a Property & Casualty (P&C) Claims Adjuster. Not my ideal career right out of the gate admittedly, but it paid the bills and seemed to be an excellent fit for my skills set.

Fast forward to two years later, I knew in my heart of hearts that wasn’t the role for me, and transitioned into IT Staffing, filling technical roles for companies like American Airlines & HP. Although I enjoyed the tech & community side of things, I did not particularly enjoy the sales hustle of this role. The competition was stiff, with AA using over 40+ vendors to fill each role. Needless to say, it was difficult to get a hire and I didn’t particularly enjoy that “grind.” Enter: The Iron Yard.

I wasn’t actively job searching at the time, but one day while browsing Twitter I learned that The Iron Yard was hiring a Campus Director for their Dallas location. A couple of weeks later I found the courage to apply, interviewed, and landed the gig. This role has been a mixture of operations, admissions & recruiting, management, HR, budgeting, marketing, community outreach, project management, event planning, and interpersonal skills that I couldn’t have imagined when I first began it. What the role looked like back in 2015 to what it is now as I wrap up my final months is completely different, but I’ve learned so much and have grown so much here and can only be thankful for that. Doing so many different things here is a Catch-22; I’ve learned an enormous amount and stretched myself professionally, but this also makes it hard to figure out my transition. Because I enjoy wearing so many different hats, and not so many roles would allow me to exercise this many skills, it’s difficult to know exactly where to go from here. Enter: StrengthsFinder.

strengthsfinder.jpg

I dove intro StrengthsFinder last weekend, as a way to help myself cope with the reality of this job search and re-focus. If I want to re-brand, I need to figure out where my strengths lie and find my identity outside of TIY, which has been a huge part of my identity personally and professionally for the last couple of years. To no one’s surprise, including my own, my top 5 strengths are:

  1. Intellection
  2. Input
  3. Learner
  4. Responsibility
  5. Arranger

While these are things I knew about myself, it definitely helps me re-focus and get some perspective on what areas I should zone in on in my job search. This tells me, for starters,  that I’m good at connecting people with purpose, I’m fiercely accountable to projects I take on, I’m insatiably intellectually curious and get antsy when I’m not learning new things. Some of the insights into my personal profile include “Because of your strengths, you can help people understand the details of an elaborate process” and “Driven by your talents, you boldly make demands of and set requirements for people”, both of which are true. While I don’t take this test as the be-all and end-all of my quest for personal insight, it has proven helpful as a first step in my journey to define my personal brand and find my next step.

If you have other recommendations into what has proven helpful to you, I welcome any thoughts and suggestions. And yes, I’ve taken Myers-Briggs, and I’m an INFJ (insert gasp here–no, I’m not extroverted, I’m a mixture of both). 🙂

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