Cultivating career relationships–Figuring out WYTYWTD Posted on September 19th, 2016 by

Understanding a career plan, and how to get there, is complicated, isn’t it? Starting to explore a career track and what jobs might be part of some career can be daunting. How do you figure out WYTYWTD? What does that even mean?

What You Think You Want To Do

Tonight on campus students from many majors joined Marshall Lichty ’99 for a session to help learn who they are as future professionals, and figure out What You Think You Want To Do. Marshall has a well-defined process to help students get from HERE (“I think I want to be a manager”) to THERE (“I found out that I think I want to be an IT infrastructure project manager”) in two steps: Figuring out their own essence, and taking specific steps to connect with those who do those jobs and who are engaged in helping them get in that field.

Connecting who we are with What We Think We Want To Do can be the most powerful way to find a career we love, working with people who are passionate about it like we are. Marshall used the analogy of cultivating tomato plants to ultimately be able to pick juicy and wonderful (and way better than grocery stores) fruit: you can’t simply plant some seeds one day, ignore them, and hope to pick fully formed and delightful fruit in a few months. Career relationships take time, and energy, and actions that reciprocate benefits to each person. Drawing on the venerated Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon concept, Marshall showed how each single act of reaching out to someone else could result in connections to anyone on the planet within 5 other connections. And that number is getting lower, meaning that we might only need two or three people to connect to anyone else in the world, due to social networking connections liked LinkedIn.

Marshall and career relationships

Marshall showed that people want to help other people, and the ask is the hardest part of starting a career-nurturing relationship. Starting with one person who we know, who might know another person, reaching out can start a chain reaction of connecting with people who do work we THINK we might want to do, and can help us develop those networks in turn. Building resilience is another topic of conversation that Marshall takes on for students: getting a “no” might actually be a “not yet” or lead to a different person. But asking for help is the first step!

We are grateful for alumni like Marshall whose passion lies in developing our students for success, confidence, and finding their joy.


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