We have gotten so used to multiple choice tests that we can always answer, but we never know what our checked off boxes actually mean, or what the ones we considered but didn't check might offer as possibilities. Here goes:
1. You've got a steady job, but you are unhappy doing it. What do you do?
a. Do your job, but keep your wishes for something more or other under the radar.
b. Do your job to the letter, but share your boredom with your colleagues and friends
c. Do your job well, but expand your network and skills at the same time.
2. You feel excluded from your teammates. What do you do?
a. Wait and hope they'll notice you in time because your work is solid.
b. Turn your focus away from your team because they won't ever change.
c. Reach out to each team member, one at a time, sharing ideas, offering help, and when dismissed again, ask for feedback so you can be included.
3. Your boss is aloof and doesn't notice you or your work at all. What do you do?
a. Keep a low profile; play it safe by not incurring any wrath.
b. Look around for a new job or a new boss who will appreciate you; don't waste any more time where you are ignored.
c. Make an appointment with your boss to discuss your work; ask about your boss's goals and ways you can contribute more.
4. You spot someone at conference that works at a company you'd like to join. What do you do?
a. Don't approach them until you are asked because you don't want to infringe on their privacy.
b. Introduce yourself, offer your card and resume, state your skills, and tell them you want a job offer.
c. Introduce yourself, ask about their work and share yours, tell why you admire their company and that you'd welcome a meeting to see if there is a match.
* Circle your answers to see if there's a pattern:
A answers indicate that you are more comfortable sitting back, giving the power to others to develop interest in you. But you could wait a long time, maybe all your life, for bosses and co-workers to acknowledge your skills instead of their own goals and needs. To flag their attention, you have to wave your own hand: approach them, tell them what you do and would like to do, and how qualified you are and ready to contribute to meeting their goals.
B answers indicate that having been hurt in the past (and we all have been), you tend to harbor that pain by going to the extremes. You either are resigned that nothing can change or, on the other hand, fight too hard to demand your rights. By recognizing that either maneuver is defensive, not productive, you can take some courageous steps to show that you belong.
(These two responses, A and B, are truly difficult to change on your own. It would be much better to work on them with a career coach or therapist.)
C answers indicate that you are working well even in difficult circumstances. You manage to contribute to the group as well as develop new technical and interpersonal skills. These alliances will lead to even more success in realizing your own desires.
To begin, you begin.