Step 1: Interview three people who are all at least 10 years older than you and have careers you admire. These people can be alumni or personal contacts, and should include:
1) One of whom can be a close relationship (parent, aunt/uncle, cousin, family friend, etc.)
2) Someone who is on a career path you are considering – 3) Someone who in a career that potentially intrigues you
Suggested interview questions to include:
- How did you get into the career you are in today?
- On a scale of 1-10 how satisfied/happy are you with your career to date? Can you identify three things that most contribute to this satisfaction/happiness? Can you identify three things that are sources of dissatisfaction?
- Do you do anything to structure more of what you like to do into your work life? Do you do anything to minimize some of the things that you do not like? If not, can you tell me why?
- If you reflect over time, can you identify one or more inflection points in your career that were positive for you (e.g., job changes, personal shifts in what you think matters, etc.)?
- Similarly, reflecting over time can you identify any inflection points in your career that were negative? In hindsight what would you do differently?
- What gives you a sense of purpose – in other words that what you do at work matters and is important – today? Has that shifted over time?
- What non-work activities and interactions with others are critical sources of well-being for you?
- Has anyone played an important mentoring role in your life – either traditional (boss/leader) or non-traditional peer (co-worker, significant other, etc.)? Can you tell me how they helped you?
- Finally, is there any advice you would give yourself – or me – if you were starting out again?
Step 2: Whom did you speak with?
- First, write a short description of each person interviewed. Please include name, current position, why you chose them, date you spoke and how long.
- Then, in a second paragraph (or bullet point format) indicate some key learnings from each person on two fronts: 1) things that you want to incorporate in your thinking and actions as you go forward and 2) things that you want to avoid as you progress.