Alice in Career Storyland

The following is the summary — which I told as a story — that I gave of the storytelling track at the just completed conference of the Career Management Alliance. I have linked portions of it to my recent posts that provide more detail about the sessions I’ve referred to here.

Looking Glass.jpg As a teenager, Alice was adrift about what her future career would be.

One day, she stepped through the looking glass and found herself in *Leslie Landrey’s two-and-a-half-day workshop, Boom-Splat-Pow. Leslie helped Alice through the process of stepping into the frame of a comic book as a way to discover her career goals. Instead of the usual and expected assessments, Leslie applied a number of creative techniques to helping Alice figure out her future. Alice participated in such activities as drawing the highlights of each day in the daily squares of a large desk calendar and creating collages so she and Leslie could see what patterns might emerge. She engaged in playful activities like ring toss games and fighting with Star Wars light sabers. By creating her own comic-book character, Alice attained ownership in the process of planning her career.

Still traveling in the world behind the looking glass, Alice embarked on a satisfying career based on what she had learned. One day, however, she came across a little bottle labeled “drink me,” so Alice did. Consuming the potion enabled Alice to see her future self, a self whose early career had been satisfying at the time but who was now ready for a transition. This future Alice needed someone to help her create a new story for herself.

Luckily, George Dutch was waiting for her in this looking-glass world. George told Alice that the No. 1 workplace disability is depression, and Alice believed it. George took Alice through his process of Personal Story Analysis. Just like Leslie Landry, George found less value in nometheic forms of assessment that look at skills, values, and traits, and instead focused on an idiographic approach that studied Alice’s individual behavior and uniqueness.

George asked Alice to break her life story into decades and look at the activities that had been enjoyable and satisfying in each decade. Alice began to develop a sense of the power of her own story.

Through George’s Personal Story Analysis Process, Alice learned about her natural talents, preferred subject matter, natural relating style, and essential motivation, aspects that all added to her key success factors. George presented Alice with her Individual Passion Pattern Map. Alice’s image of herself was shattered — in the best way possible. George told her that the next step was to translate her story into a new, different, and better job that matched her pattern and was in harmony with her authentic self.

Alice left George feeling a sense of “I can do this,” but now she needed a resume to pursue this new career path. In her journey through the looking glass, Alice then encountered Karen Siwak, who told her that stories are a resume differentiator, but most resumes don’t tell a compelling story.

il_fullxfull.32043182.jpg Karen began asking Alice a series of questions, and Alice found that she enjoyed telling stories in response to the questions. “It’s all about asking the right questions,” Karen said, “and applying brain psychology to encourage job-seekers to tell stories in the order in which they occurred. Karen ended up with pages and pages of Alice’s stories, and it was now her job to strategically choose which stories to include in Alice’s resume and which to leave out. Karen helped Alice determine her targeted employers’ pain points — what would keep managers up at night — and used the stories in Alice’s resume that would provide compelling response to those pain points. Instead of a summary section that provided white noise ignored by employers, Karen taught Alice to start her resume with a hook.

Alice ended up with a resume that helped her create connection with employers. She found that she didn’t have to defend her resume to them and that she could more easily remember her accomplishments because they were in story form.

Now it was time for looking-glass Alice to go on interviews. That’s when she found Chandlee Bryan, who taught her the LEAPING methodology for storytelling in interviews, in which L stands for Listening, E stands for Evaluation, A stands for Assessment, P stands for Purpose, I stands for Intent, N stands for Narrative, and G stands for Glimpse. Chandlee taught Alice how to listen without saying anything and how to isolate the strengths that would appeal to employers. Alice learned how to structure her stories by visualizing the outcomes and how to tell only what can be observed with the five senses.

Alice learned to soar in interviews by providing interviewers with a glimpse into her passions, genuine interest in the job, and her capacity to perform.

Armed with all her knowledge from the career practitioners she met during her journey, Alice was ready to step back through the looking glass and begin her storied career.

*Although Leslie Landrey’s conference session, SPLAT-BOOM-POW! Creative Career Design for the 21st Century, was part of the storytelling track, I didn’t blog about it. I greatly enjoyed Leslie’s highly creative presentation, and her premise of creating one’s own comic-book character certainly relates to storytelling; however, story was not a major thread in her session. Here’s a bit more about it from the conference agenda:

This is no mild-mannered session! Drawing from 3 years of in-depth research on sequential art, hero mythologies, as well as from personal experience as a career counselor for 20+ years, our own super heroine Leslie Landrey will turn this workshop into its own Career Design Studio.
SPLAT-BOOM-POW is an energetic, fun and collaborative event for anyone who desires a deep revitalization of their relationship to work. Drawing from the structure of comics, graphic novels, Japanese manga, and superhero/heroine mythologies, you’ll be a part of a creative and unique experience, configured especially for this event. You’ll engage in reflective and ‘hands-on’ practices that nourish reconfigurations of work ‘identities’ consistent with future transformations in global work-spheres. Join us as we explore this exciting, new model of Creative Career Design.

A Storied Career

A Storied Career explores intersections/synthesis among various forms of
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Dr. Kathy Hansen

Kathy Hansen, PhD, is a leading proponent of deploying storytelling for career advancement. She is an author and instructor, in addition to being a career guru. More...


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The following are sections of A Storied Career where I maintain regularly updated running lists of various items of interest to followers of storytelling:


Links below are to Q&A interviews with story practitioners.

The pages below relate to learning from my PhD program focusing on a specific storytelling seminar in 2005. These are not updated but still may be of interest:

October 2012

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