Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett

Author:Bill Burnett
Language: eng
Format: epub, azw3
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Published: 2016-09-19T16:00:00+00:00

Prototype Conversations—Life Design Interview

Once you’ve committed yourself to life design prototyping, how do you do it? The simplest and easiest form of prototyping is a conversation. We’re going to describe a specific form of prototype conversation that we call a Life Design Interview.

A Life Design Interview is incredibly simple. It just means getting someone’s story. Not just anyone and not just any story, of course. You want to talk to someone who is either doing and living what you’re contemplating, or has real experience and expertise in an area about which you have questions. And the story you’re after is the personal story of how that person got to be doing that thing he or she does, or got the expertise he has and what it’s really like to do what she does.

You want to hear what the person who does what you might someday want to do loves and hates about his job. You want to know what her days look like, and then you want to see if you can imagine yourself doing that job—and loving it—for months and years on end. In addition to asking people about their work and life, you will also be able to find out how they got there—their career path. Most people fail not for lack of talent but for lack of imagination. You can get a lot of this information by sitting down with someone and getting his or her story. That’s Life Design Interviewing. Clara had lots of these conversations, and they really helped her. Elise had almost none, and it really cost her.

The first thing to know about a Life Design Interview is what it’s not—a job interview. If you find yourself in the middle of a Life Design Interview and you’re answering questions or talking about yourself rather than getting the story of the person you’re with, stop and flip it around. This is critical. If the person you’re in conversation with misperceives that your meeting is a job interview, then it’s a disaster, and your Life Design Interview has failed or will fail. It’s all about mind-sets. Think about it: When someone thinks you’re looking for a job, the first thing on his or her mind actually has nothing to do with you at all. He is thinking, “Do we have a job opening to discuss?” The answer to that is usually no. So most of the time you’re trying to get a meeting and the other person thinks you’re looking for a job, you don’t get the appointment. You just get “No.” It may seem like a harsh and presumptuous rejection, but it’s actually the kindest and most supportive thing that person can do. If in fact you are looking for a job and that person hasn’t got one to give or isn’t influential in the hiring process, the best thing she can do for you is tell you so and free you to go find someone with an opening who can actually be helpful to you.


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