Options Exploration Research
We divide the process of "contemplating a career transition"
into three phases.
Phase I | Phase II | Phase
This is Phase II.
Your next boss may be your friend's friend, your
cousin's cousin, your uncle's nephew's boss, or even a former client
of your current career counselor. That is, your next career or job
may be affiliated with a "contact" who is removed from you by one
or two or three or more "generations" of successive contacts. Each
of these contacts may be familial, social, professional. We call
The purpose of this phase is to examine, in the
clear opinion of someone who's doing what you might like to do,
career or job options that may be a good fit for you. The several
options to be examined come from the previous Assessment phase.
To research each option, you will speak to people
("targets") who will have realistic marketplace data about your
option because they are working at what you might wish to try doing.
There are efficient and inefficient ways to reach
targets, and no matter how good you already are at this process,
you can always get better. One method is to structure and focus
the conversations you have at each branch point, with each target.
You will need to find out what the contact likes (and does not like)
about his or her job or career. You will wish to research in advance
of the conversation what affinities exist between you, the intermediary,
and the target. You will want to make certain the intermediary,
the one who gave you the name of the current target, is absolutely
and completely credible to the target. Otherwise, you
will lack credibility. You will want to glean from the structured
and tightly-focused conversation the names and coordinates of those
individuals -- who may be doing what you think you might wish to
do -- that the current target knows. And of course the current target
must be respected by the intermediary whose name you used to get
in the door.
Think of trees. Nature and evolution designed them
ingeniously to have many leaves which become in extremely intimate
contact with the environment...the air, the sunlight, water. The
trunk has branches, the branches have smaller branches, and so on
-- until you come to the leaves. This system constitutes a "network".
A spider web is another system that has branches, nodes, and links.
Each of these is a metaphor for your information-gathering interviews,
during which you ask most of the questions. Such interviews are
quite distinct from job interviews wherein the boss asks most of