In my last post I went all metaphysical by focusing on values as the place to start when thinking about going to grad school. Understanding your top values is a very important first step, but the practical side of me wants to know NOW WHAT?
A good think to do is find people who are doing things that you find interesting and get their input on whether grad school is necessary. And if so, which "flavor" of grad school (MBA, MPA, MPP, JD, PhD, etc., etc.)?
And because I am a HUGE fan of the path of least resistance (my moto is: no pain...NO pain), here are a couple suggestions on where to find these experts:
- Take a look at who is around you now
That's right--you have a network of experts already, and you may see them every day. Experts can be colleagues, friends, family, and even bosses. Start asking questions and expressing your interests--help them help you!
The mark of a good boss is someone who knows they are training you for your next position. Assuming you have a healthy professional relationship with you boss, it might be good to ask for guidance on your professional development. Remember: when you are happy, you make your boss look good!
- See and be seen!
Woody Allen said "90% of life is just showing up." I couldn't agree more when it comes to deciding on grad school and career development overall too.
There are a TON of things you could be doing at any given moment of your life that relate to your interests and values. Pick one or two and just be in the room when it happens. For example, on any given day in Washington, DC, there are a zillion talks, book launches, brown bags, demonstrations, and cultural events taking place. A good place find out about some of these DC events is the DC LinkTank -- a daily listing of events related to every possible interest.
Just being in the room when things are discussed exposes you to experts in your field, and gets you seen too!
There are literally thousands of associations around the world, many of which want to cultivate professionals in their fields.
A great place to learn more associations and careers in the association world is ASAE and The Center for Association Leadership located at www.careerhq.org.
- Why Not Have Some Fun?
A long time ago, I worked with a client who had a very hard time networking and meeting his experts. He was, and still is, I'm sure, a MASSIVE Penn State fan (is there any other kind?), and loved going to Penn State events. He had no problem interacting with people there. He felt comfortable.
When I asked him "When the other Penn Staters are not at these events, what are they doing for work?" a lightbulb went on in his mind.
Find your experts in places where you feel most comfortable.
- GovLoop and others
This is a no brainer! GovLoop is an amazing place to find experts because the entire community is willing to help as best they can. Use it. And if you are so inclined, use LinkedIn's Groups function. That is a GREAT way to find your experts too.
And if you want to use more social sites like Facebook, why not create a separate professional profile to avoid all those pitfalls that come with using Facebook?
Where else do you find your experts?