A 10 minute Career Hack: The Want/Don’t Want Circle

Can you really hack a career in 10 minutes? Yep! This brilliant tool can be used for visioning a new job, a new career, a new place to live, anything that you want to bring into your life. For our purposes, we are going to apply it to a new job or career. What I like most about this tool is that it usually captures a more holistic vision for what I’d like to bring to my life than just talking about it with a partner or friend.

It’s an easy way to get onto paper what you know you are looking for in your next career move. You might be surprised about what else shows up on paper. Give it a try:

  • Get a piece of paper – decent sized, I usually grab a sheet of paper off my printer. You can use a page in your journal if it is of a decent size.
  • Draw a circle – have the circle take up about 85% of the paper – leave some room on the paper outside the circle.
  • Label the inside of the circle WANT. Label the outside of the circle DON’T WANT.
  • Start writing!
    • Anything you do want to show up in your next job or career put it inside the circle.
    • Anything you definitely don’t want to be a part of your next job or career put it outside the circle.

Pulling from our Bright Livelihoods material, here are some questions to consider once your writing has slowed down:

  • What’s important to me about the people I work with (colleagues, boss, direct reports, customers or clients)?
  • What’s important to me about the tasks of my job?
  • What’s important to me about the environment in which I work?
  • How do I want to feel when I am at work?
  • What’s important about where my work fits in with the rest of my life and relationships?
  • Thinking about my last job(s), what worked well for me that I would like to also have in any work going forward?
  • Is there anything about my last job(s) that I want to be sure to avoid going forward?
  • What do I really want that I am afraid to say out loud to someone else?

I’m not even sure who to credit for the want/don’t want circle. I suspect I picked it up from a coach friend, though maybe I read it in a book? Anyway, I didn’t originate it and I send thanks into the ether to the person who shared it with me. It’s been helpful to me over the years.

I hope it’s helpful for you. Let me know how it goes!

– Kelly

Kelly Dwyer uses her ample experience with career and job transitions to help others go from career confusion to career clarity. She is a Master Coach at Bright Livelihoods and offers one-to-one and group coaching for people who are ready to figure out what’s next for them in the world of work.

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