I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about narrative listening techniques over the past few months. In my previous experiences with career-driven discussion, there seems to be an overwhelming focus on skills, qualifications and assertiveness. Although this is great for many ambitious, go-getter types, it can be discouraging for many less-so individuals. Be it a feeling of anxiety, uncertainty, a lack of direction or passion, self-doubt, or frustrated feelings, we all feel like we have shortcomings in the workforce. Not to mention difficulties with social identity that discourage us from being assertive, confident workers. Narrative therapy techniques take these various feelings, experiences and emotions to focus on professional values and assets, making a meaningful analysis of perceived shortcomings and significant stories. It helped me to find out areas of myself I need to work on improving, but also highlighted many perhaps covert strengths in a workplace environment that I hadn’t yet acknowledged. It also allowed me to link my own qualities and skills as an employee to real, meaningful moments and experiences throughout my life. This puts into perspective just how much knowledge and invaluable experience I have gained over the years, putting to rest a fear of stagnation. Through various moments of disruption, challenges and learning I have began shaping my own professional values and gaining important insight into my career path when leaving university. Watching my peers’ narrative interviews with various individuals has shown the many different paths we can take in employment, and both the commonly shared and unique experiences these entail.
The most valuable take away for me has been interviewing my narrative subject about their professional experiences. This discussion made me consider the possibility of working freelance in the near future, something I hadn’t considered previously as it seemed too difficult to pull off successfully. I felt encouraged and inspired by the stories they shared with me about becoming a freelance worker after their internship. This also informed my creative essay topic, as I looked further into freelance work and flexible workplaces as they relate to the digital and social media management/marketing role.