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April 29, 2006

Inspiring Progress, Innovation

This is an interesting angle that I had not previously thought about for this project, and wanted to share with the class. I actually work for a company that just went through a huge re-branding initiative, and I was quite involved in helping as far as giving feedback, recommendations, etc. for the project. This is a huge global company, over 100 years old, and needed to rebrand its image to help modernize the company and its subsidiaries.

Throughout the branding planning process, one of the key messages has been "Inspiring Progress and Innovation," which is what I help contribute to everyday. Basically, through much of the work I do there, I have used my knowledge work to help in a small way to create value and relationships with our customers and revenue for our business, as well as both creating and inspiring innovation. I have been concentrating my efforts solely on what I do day-to-day that can be defined as talent or knowledge work, but never really thought about the "Big Picture," in how our customers actually benefit from my work in some way. I am not only using knowledge work each day, but I am also creating the opportunity for others to do the same. This is definitely something I plan on using to define my talents in the future, and something many people might not think about when defining their knowledge work.

Final Project Process and Modality

I wanted to give everyone another update on where my project stands. As is evident by now, the modality I have chosen is a simple word file, which includes typical interview questions, what I believe and through other research has told me that these questions are getting at, and how I can tailor each response to define a talent of mine.

Other formats I considered included a more of a "mock interview"-type outline, either written or through an audio presentation, to go through each question, and make it sound like a real interview, as well as an excel spreadsheet with each question and some different possible responses, which would've allowed me to organize my thoughts better and move them around more easily. In the end, though, I felt like a basic outline was the best thing to do, because while searching your talent inventory while sitting in an interview room can be a complicated process, a simple outline to follow would be the best to read through before an interview, and would be the easiest to remember.

The format I have chosen has helped to support my process for defining my knowledge work and talents by allowing me a common organizational tool to develop my talents both in a way that are easy to define for me, as well as to ensure that these talents are relevant to the work I would be doing. This has definitely been a helpful project, and I have learned a lot about myself and myself as a knowledge worker.

Interview Testing

I recently participated in a job interview in which I was required to take a "Test." It was basically a 30 minute test, with questions ranging anywhere from identifying the one shape that doesn't belong with the rest, to basic geometry and word problems and the typical "glove is to hand as hat is to what?"- type questions. Throughout my interviewing period, I have completed many profile/personality assessments, online exams, writing tests, etc.

I believe that this is a trend which will continue to become more prevalent, as more businesses start to not just trust what you say about yourself and your talents, but also to see some hard evidence that you can actually do some of the skills and possess some of the talents you admit to having. The purpose of these tests, I believe, and anyone feel free to add to this, is not always even designed to measure your skills or knowledge, but rather to analyze the steps you take, and your thought process, for solving a problem. But in taking these tests, this is a time to let some of your greatest talents in your inventory stand out, like showing organization, prioritization, time management, creative thinking and logical reasoning. I have discovered these types of traits to be the most important testing objectives for many of these tests, and think they are good tools to measure them.

April 24, 2006

A Project Update

I wanted to give everybody an update on where my project stands currently. I have gathered a large number of interview questions that I have previously received, and also ones that others have told me about. I am still willing to consider any others, so feel free to send me any interview questions you have had trouble with before. I have been doing some qualitative research on what interviewers actually want out of these questions, and have also considered what a typical answer would be.

The next challenge I am pursuing in this project is to find a way to answer each question with a relevant experience that both defines a talent of mine, and is also what I would picture as memorable or different than a common response. This has been by far the most challenging part of this project, but has really helped me to use knowledge work to define my talents. I will give updates, or post questions in the next few days if I get stuck with anything. I hope everyone's projects are going well!

April 18, 2006

Share Your Great Ideas!

I was sent to this last week through a mass CLA mailing, and immediately thought of this class. This contest eeks of innovation, and I believe it is a great program to foster meaningful and innovative thoughts and ideas.

So often, the premise of a Knowledge Worker is to develop unique knowledge for personal learning and satisfaction, or to contribute to the greater good of society. Well, here's the chance to use Knowledge Work as a competitive avenue, with a cash prize as the reward- along with personal growth and satisfaction.

Check out this site to learn more: http://breakthroughideas.umn.edu/

Thank You To All!

I wanted to say "Thank You" to everyone who provided feedback to my entry: "What Do You Look For In A Career?" This advice has really helped me to filter down my job search to some more definable characteristics in terms of what I'm looking for. As my job search continues, I definitely feel more comfortable knowing that I have a better grasp on what I want out of a career, and what others also want. Thank you to all!

April 13, 2006

Knowledge Work As Craft Work

This article makes the distinction between Knowledge Work as a final crafted product vs. the true essence and goal of knowledge work as being the creation of new results. The article states that
"Standardization and reproducibility have been the watchwords of the industrial economy. Shouldn't they also be the watchwords for the knowledge economy?

I think this is an interesting distinction to make, and not something I necessarily agree with. If I am performing work that is new to me (and I am attaining knowledge I would otherwise be deprived of), and if this knowledge is not "new and unique," in the broader spectrum of the world, then is this not knowledge work?

Feel free to check out this article and provide your thoughts.
http://www.mcgeesmusings.net/stories/2002/03/21/KnowledgeWorkAsCraft.html


April 12, 2006

What Values Do You Look For In a Career?

One of the toughest problems I'm facing in my job search is attempting to filter out what values are most important in my life, and how those can transfer to a successful professional life. Currently, my whole seach is primarily based on the highest salary possible. Right now, I'm telling myself that I would be happy with any job, as long as the pay is adequate. Basically, I need to find a balance, where salary is a factor in my job search, but maybe not as important as some of my other values.

I've made a list containing some of the key values I have concerning my "perfect job." For those of you who have already been in the working world, I'm really interested to see how much (if any), your values have changed from what mine are currently, or which, you feel, are the most important in choosing a job/career.

I want a job/career that provides the folowing:
- Time for family & friends. I don't want to be "married" to my work
- Time for personal hobbies/leisure activities
- Challenging, dynamic work environment
- Money. I want a comfortable living for my family

Let me know what you all think...What is most important to you?

Common Interview Questions From Monster.com

http://interview.monster.com/articles/common%5Fquestions1/
http://interview.monster.com/articles/common%5Fquestions2/
http://interview.monster.com/articles/interviewquest/

These links contain some useful insight on potential interview questions, regarding what types of questions may be asked, what they are looking for in a response, and some advice on potential answers. If anyone else comes across any other information like this, feel free to send me the link or post a comment on my blog. These are the type of questions I am looking for to help me with my project. Thanks all, and happy reading!