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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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03/24/16
Interview Questions. What do you want to do next and What motivates you
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 1:22 pm

A couple of interesting conversations spur this entry.  One colleague
asked for help in developing a response to the question:  What does she
wish to do next after achieving her PhD?
  [So as the advice goes:  the
solution of many problems is in the framing of the question, its boundary
conditions and assumptions.]

She has a long term goal of reuniting with her family.  This can be
achieved in several ways, in terms of relocating.  Yet, she only viewed
it by one path of her returning to live at home [boundary condition].  So,
my response was philosophical that many  more unintentional factors go
into our career choice, other than an initial goal.   I offered salient
features of a self-assessment (values and interests) as one factor
and opportunities that open up to us…more practical 

Then added ‘Fulfillment in your career often does not result from the
work itself, but in the quality and care you bring to your efforts.
Few of us find their career through logic.  Many find their career
through connections and sometimes through coincidence.

We cannot really predict where we end up in our career.  We may set
goals.  They may not be realistic or realizable.’

A second conversation brought the question:  How do I respond to
the question:
What motivates me?  To that I responded, pick two from the
following six:

  1. career progression through the ranks and opportunities
    for promotion and advancement
  2. lateral moves with increasing job responsibility and skill
    building (like, rotational assignments in other areas, joint
    ventures, and others)
  3. Acquiring new technical skills (outside training, certification)
  4. Developing leadership intuition or managerial and administrative
    skills
  5. Balance in family life and work life
  6. increased compensation and other forms of compensation

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