Can poetry help you land your dream job – part II

poetry_dreamjob

In the first part of these blog series we discussed the benefits of writing poetry in realm of developing positive identity narrative which can lead us to closer picture and knowing what we want to do in life.But what about when it comes to other people’s poetry? How that can help us achieve our career goals? Here I want to share with you two interesting examples. A college teacher placed a job advert in front of her students and asked them what the job is all about. An advert was mostly listing of technological skills and many students didn’t manage to locate the key skills employer was looking for, as it was cleverly ‘masked’ under technological terms:

Expertise: Information Systems Technology 
Education: Bachelors 
Job Type: Full-Time
Location: Tulsa, OK
Compensation: Commensurate with Experience
Start Date: Immediate

Provide technical support and assistance to both Williams internal application systems users and external customers/partners. Develop familiarity with business, application, and technical processes and use this understanding to improve the processing and accuracy of the data and the performance of the interfaces between internal systems and external customers. Lead efforts to resolve issues across business, application support, and technical support groups seeking the best solution to problems that arise in the process, performance, or accuracy of application systems and the data exchanged between internal and external systems and customers. Problem resolution efforts will often include direct interaction with external customers. Must be a strong leader able to manage cross-functional teams toward a common goal of problem resolution and process improvement. Problem resolution efforts will often involve teams with dissimilar goals and priorities and the need to manage them toward a common goal and gain the support of their disparate management organizations. Must possess exceptional written and oral skills. A good existing understanding of business, application, and technical areas is required and/or the ability to seek out and assimilate information independently and quickly. Must be able to work with little supervision and manage time effectively. Knowledge and experience acquired through this position will serve as excellent preparation for movement into advanced leadership positions within Williams Communications. Bachelors degree or equivalent experience.

When the teacher asked her students to take a look at deeper meaning in this advert, to treat it like they were reading a poem – that approach opend a lively discussion in the class and students managed to locate two key sentences:

Must be a strong leader able to manage cross-functional teams toward a common goal of problem resolution and process improvement. Problem resolution efforts will often involve teams with dissimilar goals and priorities and the need to manage them toward a common goal and gain the support of their disparate management organizations.

Beside the excellent communication and leadership skills, employer is looking for someone whose teams probably at the moment are not getting along; they are looking for someone new, with fresh ideas and perspective and as such who will be able to manage number of smaller groups with cross-purposes.

So the teacher proved to her students in this fun and exciting exercise, how poetry teaches us to take critical approach to what we are confronted with, and how in such fashion we are able to look for underlying causes and hidden facts, which are not obvious at first sight. This skill can be helpful in many life situations – even when it comes to haunting your dream job.

In another interesting  article, we can see the results of survey that Linkendin has conducted – they asked influencers what is the single best piece of advice they’ve ever received when it comes  to career. Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President at Apple Retail shared a single poem that encapsulates a lifetime of lessons: The Desiderata.

Its profound principles subliminally shaped and defined my core and have guided me throughout my life.

It was framed on the wall of her father’s office when she was a teenager.

At the time, I repeated the words without reflection, unconcerned by their meaning, but with perspective, I know these simple truths helped form the fabric of my leadership, inspiring me and reminding me of my place and my purpose.”

An excerpt:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.”

“Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”

So, in the nut shell these are my two recommendations for using poetry as a career guidance:

  1. Use metaphor to describe your problem: strong images and observations that can trigger some additional thoughts on how you can approach your problem differently and observe how you feel about each thought – it’s the best orienteer if you are on the right track with your solution. Positive language can enforce development of positive ‘narrative identity and choices’, which can lead to better understanding what is our purpose and calling in life.
  1. Find inspirational poems that align with your values and outlook on life. Read them frequently, use them as a reminder of what you stand for and what you desire your life to be.

Do you have any poem that profoundly influenced your life? Please share in the comments below.


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Can poetry help you land your dream job – part I

poetry_dreamjob

How to choose a career path? In these two-part post series I’ll discuss the benefits of reading and writing poetry for career development.

We all know that career as a definition and societal phenomena has undergone many changes and I do believe that today it has become very personal thing. A stay-at-home mom, having three kids and raising her family can be very satisfied with her life. Or someone who is working every day in an isolated lab, researching and developing new formulas can be very proud of their life. It all comes down to what we perceive that we are good at and what we consider success in life.

But we also have to keep in mind that many factors influence our decisions and how we see ourselves – especially in early adolescence. In my culture, technical sciences were seen as a crown of any scientific advancement and many of us were conditioned to make our educational choices according to that premise. Not what you are talented for, not what you liked to do – but rather what job markets needed. And there is nothing wrong with having that factor in mind, but also trying to find that middle ground where you can really express your talents and true nature – in meaningful and contributive way, is what you can do best for yourself (especially when you have a lots of interests).

What all that has to do with poetry, you might ask? Nothing and everything – depending how you look at things. As we practice writing poetry, I do believe that at the most deepest levels, while training ourselves to observe the world, we also observe ourselves: our feelings, needs, inclinations, behavioral patterns, habits. When you write in the first person, your attention is focused on yourself. You are learning about ‘real you’ and from there what kind of life you want. Poetic language is condescend, emotionally ‘pumped up’ and may contain hidden messages that in regular writing we would easily omit.

Free writing and journaling are quite straightforward and direct. Poetry very much relies on metaphor and figurative language. What we actually see and perceive, once expressed in metaphorical speech can also serve as a basis of developing new reality we want to experience – in any aspect of  life. It can trigger ideas for solutions and new approaches to problems, even when it comes to your career choice.

Instead of saying:” I’m confused, I don’t know what I want, what I want to do”, we can also say:

“Everything is blur and fogy around me,

 I can’t see clearly.

If I walk I might trip and fall.”

This kind of perspective can further opens door to new possibilities instead locking us down in our own thinking, leaving us feeling deprived, depressed or miserable. The above metaphor might apply the need for taking cautious, baby steps, trying to focus on one thing at the time (trying to find direction in dense fog and search for light).

This kind of approach can lead to development of healthy narrative identity, as defined by Northwestern University psychologist Dan McAdams. As further described in this article McAdams sees

narrative identity as an internalized story you create about yourself — your own personal myth. Like myths, our narrative identity contains heroes and villains that help us or hold us back, major events that determine the plot, challenges overcome and suffering we have endured. When we want people to understand us, we share our story or parts of it with them; when we want to know who another person is, we ask them to share part of their story.

How we perceive our lives also leads to “narrative choices” we make. If we are able to see anything good in our past experiences and have that internalized narrative that sheds a light of growth and improvement,  is the key to crafting a positive identity, having control over your life and that you are able to overcome life’s obstacles.

And I often like to say “we can’t change the past, but we can rewrite it”. Poetry can help us  to tell a different story about ourselves. Our capabilities, our desires, but also understanding of different perspectives. But most importantly, as poetry ask you to access your deepest and most hidden thoughts and parts of your personality, it can help you realize what you really want, what is your potential and how to realize it.

To complement this reading I also invite you to read this post about benefits of having  purpose statement and vision for your personal development.


If you liked this post, please share. And, If you you are interested in getting more inspiration for your creativity, writing and personal growth, sign up for our free monthly newsletter. You’ll get a free e-book with 31 daily prompts to inspire your writing. For additional tips, follow us on twitter and connect with us on facebook.