Job-Search Series I: Know Yourself

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Know yourself: I’m astonished to see, again and again, how many people out there have no clue of who they are…this usually brings anxiety, boredom and slavery to their lives. The problem is not ignoring who you are…but not being curious about it and thinking that you already know what you need to know about yourself or about life…

Take some time to discover who you really are and what you want and need in life.

What do you need to know about yourself?

  • Your values: what do you value most? What is non-negotiable for you?
  • Your needs: while everybody needs air, water, food, shelter, health and love, each one of us has different “needs” beyond these basics…what are yours? What your loved ones’ needs?
  • Your wants: take some time to describe to yourself the type of life you really want…and while material things may be part of it, make sure you start with the intangibles…
  • Your reality: where are you right now? What have you accomplished? How do you feel about who you are and where you are?
  • Your impact in the world: what have you done? Who you have touched? What legacy are you leaving behind? How all that impact you, your loved ones and future generations?
  • What would you want your legacy to be? What are your dreams?
  • Describe yourself: how is your character, your attitude towards life, work, pleasure, community, conflict, commitment, etc?
  • Your studies: list all the formal and informal studies you have
  • Your skills: create a list of your hard skills (technical or job-specific skills) and soft skills (personal and inter-personal skills)…make sure you include not just job-specific but anything that makes you “skilled”, such as something you do at home, for pleasure or as a volunteer and requires a “skill” (examples: gardening, being a good listener, handy-man, etc)
  • Your “jobs”: both formal and informal, paid and unpaid, anything you have done for others, for yourself and around the house: you may be surprised about how much “work” experience you already have, even if you are young and “inexperienced”…
  • Your accomplishments: list all the things for which you have received praise, awards, promotions, etc.
  • What you enjoy doing most: recall from since you were a child…what did you enjoy doing? What are your most precious moments, those when you feel fulfilled and happy? What are you doing? Who you are with? Where are you when they happened/happen?
  • What subjects where easier for you in school and later at work? (we tend to be good at things we enjoy doing and vice-versa…and most people’s “call” is in these things we enjoy doing…such as help others, writing, creating something new, discovering something new, teaching, etc.

And…what do you do with all this? What is good for?

  • The above exercise is good for you: if you do it well, it will connect you with yourself, your life purpose and your real needs (not the new cell phone or a flat TV, your REAL needs as a person alive today in this world, as the miracle and uniqueness you are)
  • This has also a practical side: it will help you to see beyond the confusion (or the narrowness) of one-single-job-target (or a chaotic myriad of disconnected job targets)
  • A second practical side is that this list, if well organized in a binder, it will act as a reminder of your value as a human being and professional. It will help when you feel rejected and down and when your job search seems to be going nowhere (some may like to create a video, or drawings, or collect artefacts that reflect the above)
  • The above list also helps when creating a professional portfolio or ePortfolio and a resume for the practical side of job searching


  • You don’t believe in “knowing yourself” exercise because you just “need a job”…
  • You think this is a waste of time
  • You think you already know yourself
  • You think this will complicate things that should be simple
  • You think you really don’t know yourself that well, nor what you want or need

My suggestions:

  • Unless you are at the edge of starvation and living on the streets, knowing yourself will help you to find a job, create your own job/business, realize that you may not need a job, leave your current job, be promoted, fall in love with life again, change the way you live and even change your small corner of the world (which is necessary to change the entre world)…so the benefits are endless
  • If you think knowing yourself is a waste your time, I respectfully ask to stop reading my blog…you may have “better” things to do out there, such as poisoning the world we need, abusing others for a gain, watching TV, going for a shopping spree at the mall or complaining from your little corner about how bad things are going…
  • Congratulations! Now you can die in peace (if you already know all what you need to know about yourself)…I certainly doubt you exist
  • Life is not simple. There are no simple answers for anything. Life is sacred and mysterious, and complex and interconnected and precious. And the best thing we can do with life is trying to understand, be curious for each new thing we observe and learn will give us more sense of respect and awe.
  • Great! Nobody truly honest know herself/himself to the bone…life is a journey and sometimes you’ll discover things about yourself at 16, just to forget them for a long while and re-discover them through a new light at 46…and every time you discover something new about you, you are expanding your boundaries and celebrating this sacred life given to you…

 “Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.” ~St. Augustine

Next post:  “Know what’s out there – embrace your purpose and give, give…”

Stay tuned!

One Comment on “Job-Search Series I: Know Yourself

  1. Pingback: Job Search/Path Search ~ Not Rocket Science ~ But How It Hurts! | Silvia Di Blasio

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