uncertain of the scanner that I could be

What should you do when you want to do everything? If you're fascinated by everything, and you've been called dabbler, dilettante, undisciplined, indecisive etc., this forum is for you.

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uncertain of the scanner that I could be

Postby alyssad » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:41 am

Hello everyone, my name is Alyssa and I'm 24. Ever since I graduated from high school in 2006, I have had a difficult time deciding on the type of career path I like to take. I have multiple interests and every time I hear of another kind of career, I'm interested in it. I have the problem of not being 100% certain of the type of career path I like to take. I bought the book "Refuse to Choose" and it's a relief to see that I'm not alone. It's definitely nice to see that there are other people like me that have a difficult time choosing one career path because they have too many interests AKA scanners. I have seen other people my age doing hell of a lot more then me (graduated from college, living on their own). I feel like I could be like them if I could be more decisive. It really is nice to see that I'm not alone. If I found this book a long time ago, it could have been VERY helpful.

I realize that money is an important factor in choosing a career that you have, though I can't stand the idea of being at a job that doesn't bring any personal enjoyment even though I'm getting paid a lot of money. For example, there are people that go into nursing because it makes a lot of money, though it's a high stress job that can be quite unpleasant. I've been at jobs in the past that felt like a prison sentence and everyday having to go the job felt like hell. The only issue that I'm currently having is trying to pin point the exact kind of scanner that I am. Here's a short summary of the type of person I am: I have multiple interests and enjoy learning new things. I'm a very high energy person that likes to keep as busy as possible. I try to avoid conflict and prefer to keep the peace. I seem to become interested in new things all the time and have a hard time choosing the one thing that I like to do as a career.

If I had to put a label on the kind of "scanner" that I am, I can say that I can relate to being- a wanderer & a high speed indecisive. Is it important to pin point the exact scanner you are, even if you relate to being more the one type of scanner? I really need help in choosing the kind of career path that I need to take. I have a certificate to be a medical assistant in 2010. In late 2010, I got diagnosed having a thyroid disorder. I never did research on medical issues, until I became sick. I learned some life changing information about conventional medicine that changed my mind about being a medical assistant for a conventional medicine doctor. I'm looking to have a job for an employer that I do not fully support.

I'm tired of being so indecisive, and like to have a more clear direction of that path that I'm going to take. I know that I'm not getting any younger. I'm currently just making minimum wage and I don't enjoy it. I feel like I have a lot more potential then having a retail job. The only thing holding me back is being a very indecisive person that constantly becomes interested in more then one thing. I really could use advice. Thank you
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Re: uncertain of the scanner that I could be

Postby SquarePeg » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:20 pm

Welcome Alyssa!

I can identify with your POV on conventional medicine. The best medicine is preventive, by which I mean good diet, the right exercise, enough sleep and avoiding risky behavior are better than relying on medicine to come up with a cure.

Yet, for certain acute illnesses, it seems appropriate. Strep infection, bee stings, broken bones are things that you can help treat with confidence. I wonder if a walk-in clinic might be a comfortable setting for you. It's not as crazy as an ER, yet they don't muck about with protocols that favor expensive surgery and/or lifetime dependency on more and more drugs.

As for career advice or scanner categorization, I don't know. I never thought it mattered what kind of scanner I was. I always liked the book "What Color is Your Parachute?" It's what I read when I was a bit younger than you (and in the same predicament). You might find an exercise in it that helps you strip away all the labels and expectations people have put on you and expose your core values.

Consider one more thing: the career you might end up with in a few years might be one you've never heard of and for which there is currently no training. So connect with as many people as you can. Find out what they do and how they got started in their careers.

Good luck!
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Re: uncertain of the scanner that I could be

Postby Scenario Thinker » Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:15 pm

I can't say much as far as being 24, because I was trying to decide which direction to take myself then (and read What Color is your Parachute, and I credit it with helping me eventually find my first job).

There's a few things to consider:
1. You might end up loving what you do only after you have been doing something awhile and have gotten pretty good at it. Being very competent at something is probably the best affirmation to fuel the "love" fires.

2. Don't think that being a scanner means you have to make a living at your scanning abilities. I do perfectly fine with a regular job I enjoy, make enough money at a decent place to work with decent coworkers overall, and am not under huge amounts of stress or overtime, and I can go scanning all I want in my off hours (which is basically every evening and all weekend).

3. Don't go into a career for the money, unless you can be comfortable thinking you might enjoy it pretty well (and refer to #1). I.e., if the thought of nursing makes you cringe, don't go into it. Not all nurses make huge amounts of money. The only ones I've heard of personally (granted I don't know every nurse), were surgical nurses. But, that's not saying there are others. But, not ALL nurses make good money, just like ALL lawyers (or most fields) don't make a lot of money (one time in my running club many years ago, I overheard a lawyer all excited about landing a well-paying job ... according to him ... telling another lawyer, and it was considerably less than I was making as an IT guy. He wasn't entry level, either, as was I).

4. The careers that people say they want to go into because it's their passion, are usually fields that A LOT of people are good at, thus the supply is huge and you're competing with some really good talent.

5. Bottom line, blend your scanning with the world of working for money against just doing it for the love of it. You never know if your scanning may even help you in a "regular" job. (I'm constantly searching on the internet to solve problems for my job).
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Re: uncertain of the scanner that I could be

Postby emspace » Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:45 am

Hi Alyssad,

Good advice from both SquarePeg and ST above.

I can totally relate to your dilemma. I felt exactly the same way as you at your age and went through a few years of depression because I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just settle on something, commit to it, and get on with my life the way my friends were. How can someone with so much “potential” end up so aimless? I also read What Color is your Parachute but it didn’t help me much because I still had too many choices. In university I studied human biology, zoology, forensic anthropology, photography and applied art, English, political science, psychology—it was hard enough to pick a major let alone a career!

After reading Barbara Sher’s I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, I realised I was shooting for something that wasn’t going to happen for me. I was focusing on a Being job (physiotherapist? osteopath? photographer? rowing coach?) — in other words, the job title — instead of thinking about ways to do the things I enjoyed doing.

Thinking about just a small bit of what I loved to do, I loved fiddling with my computer and I loved using it to design things. So I took (yet another) course in Interactive Multimedia, didn’t quite graduate, but started doing it. I eventually got a job (more because I knew people at the company than because of my qualifications) and it has been my Good Enough job ever since. Only now, 14 years later, am I thinking of looking for my next Good Enough job.

Even now, 14 years later, I don’t have a job title. I do a lot of things for the company and the best that anyone can do is say “she works on the websites” because even then, they don’t know exactly what kind of work I do on the websites.

Here’s how I’ve carved out a Scanner Good Enough job (that for some people is also a career path):

  • I identified a small sampling of the things I enjoy doing and tried to figure what kind of work involved combining them all. I enjoy lightweight hacking of computer code, I enjoy designing/redesigning graphical things, I enjoy working with typography, I enjoy photographing — and mostly I enjoy constantly learning new things. So this was an easy combination: digital & web media production. Especially with web design work, there is a never ending river of things to learn. Right after you think you’ve got a handle on one technology, you hear about the Next Big Thing that everyone is already using, so now you have to learn that, too. It. Never. Stops. “Left brain” + “right brain”; I get to do it all.
  • Work for a medium-small entrepreneurial company. If you want the most freedom to branch into using your untapped skills and Scanner interests, you want to find a privately owned company that is about 40-100 people. This particular type and size of company is ideal for Scanners because this kind of company still has a lot of room to grow, expand, create new opportunities. They are more open to trying new ideas and letting their own people figure things out. If you work for this type of company, and the owner and managers are reasonable, forward-thinking people, all you need to do is show them you’re really interested and you’re able to deliver and they will give you rein to do what you want. You’re only constrained by how much responsibility and accountability you want to take on. I could write a book on this topic for Scanners.
  • Whenever I see something that is not working efficiently or doesn’t look good, something I know how to do better, I get involved. In my company, all it takes is speaking up to say you want to help and everyone is more than happy to let you. In this way, I’ve been able to slowly take on all photography jobs, including what used to be outsourced; move into web design; write and edit; and then take on the lead videography jobs. With videography, it wasn’t that I was qualified, but that I was interested in learning it more than anyone else. If I were continuing in this company, I could become the video producer within the next year by learning more about various effects, taking classes, and experimenting with company material on company time with company money. If you’re a Scanner wanting to learn new things all the time, but not necessarily wanting to pay for them all, this is the dream! Getting paid to learn!

And realise, I have a lot more interests than my job allows me to explore, still. I also get jonesed about anatomy, physiology, and improving these for individuals, but I can’t incorporate these at work—yet. That’s why I’m into yoga therapy on the side. As a Scanner, it’s not possible to do everything you want to do all at once.

Adding to ST & SquarePeg’s advice, mine would be to think about the things you like doing, not just a general activity, but the real underlying thing that puts you into Flow State. E.g.:

  • I said I liked lightweight coding, but that’s not really true: what I really enjoy is solving the puzzle of what I have to tell the computer in order to get it to do what I want it to do, using the least complicated set of instructions possible. It’s the logical problem solving that puts me into flow, not really the coding itself.
  • Same with photography: what I really enjoy is showing people something they wouldn’t have seen even if they had been standing next to me when I took the photograph, or using the exact same camera that I was using. There are these layers to the way things can be photographed. It’s really not about the expensive gear, the technical blah blah blah, or creating a beautiful image for me. It’s discovering how to tell the story I want to tell of a particular image in the best possible way, in my own way.
  • What I enjoy about coaching and training is finding ways to connect with different types of learners, simplifying complex ideas or instructions that suit a particular person.

So that’s my example.

Once you know what specific things get you into the zone, you start to realise that the activity label is not as important as the thing it allows you to do. This opens you up to many many many opportunities for work, and not just specific job descriptions.

If what you really love to do is solve the puzzle of making something work more elegantly, then you don’t have to just be a computer programmer.

Practical advice now:
  • Do things you love to do
  • Notice when you’re in the Flow State/Zone
  • Work out what specifically put you into the Flow State: what was giving you so much energy you could’ve done it all day?
  • Go to your minimum wage job and look around. What could you do there that would put you into the Flow State? Redesign the POS? Draw the sandwich board on the sidewalk? At my job in the art gallery lounge, redesigning the menus put me into Flow State.
  • Make a proposal to your manager or employer about doing one of those things. This could lead to something much more.
  • Try to think of some ways you could use some of your knowledge as a Medical Assistant to improve a medical office using your Flow State activities. Can you use some of your knowledge and transfer it to a more holistic practice? Make something real and then show it to people. Offer to do the same thing for their offices.

The last suggestions are vague because you haven’t indicated anything specific about your interests or skills. Try to focus on doing things instead of being something because the only qualifications (for any job) that matter are not the certificates but the real results you can create.

Good luck! Let us know how you’re doing!
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Re: uncertain of the scanner that I could be

Postby SquarePeg » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:39 am

emspace, your post seems like I wrote it! I think you and I were handcrafted by the same Artist on back-to-back days. But I don't like to travel right now.
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Re: uncertain of the scanner that I could be

Postby alyssad » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:36 pm

Thanks to everyone that posted on this topic! I'm going to copy and paste the questions that Scenario Thinker posted. I'm also going to take Emspace's advice and think things about the question that they posted. It's going to take some time to come to a conclusion. Though, at least it's a step in the right direction. I have heard of the book "What Color is Your Parachute" though I never have taken time to read it. Do they have a copy of it online? I know that they sometimes have books online instead of having to buy them or take one out from the library.


emspace wrote:Hi Alyssad,

Good advice from both SquarePeg and ST above.

I can totally relate to your dilemma. I felt exactly the same way as you at your age and went through a few years of depression because I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just settle on something, commit to it, and get on with my life the way my friends were. How can someone with so much “potential” end up so aimless? I also read What Color is your Parachute but it didn’t help me much because I still had too many choices. In university I studied human biology, zoology, forensic anthropology, photography and applied art, English, political science, psychology—it was hard enough to pick a major let alone a career!

After reading Barbara Sher’s I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, I realised I was shooting for something that wasn’t going to happen for me. I was focusing on a Being job (physiotherapist? osteopath? photographer? rowing coach?) — in other words, the job title — instead of thinking about ways to do the things I enjoyed doing.

Thinking about just a small bit of what I loved to do, I loved fiddling with my computer and I loved using it to design things. So I took (yet another) course in Interactive Multimedia, didn’t quite graduate, but started doing it. I eventually got a job (more because I knew people at the company than because of my qualifications) and it has been my Good Enough job ever since. Only now, 14 years later, am I thinking of looking for my next Good Enough job.

Even now, 14 years later, I don’t have a job title. I do a lot of things for the company and the best that anyone can do is say “she works on the websites” because even then, they don’t know exactly what kind of work I do on the websites.

Here’s how I’ve carved out a Scanner Good Enough job (that for some people is also a career path):

  • I identified a small sampling of the things I enjoy doing and tried to figure what kind of work involved combining them all. I enjoy lightweight hacking of computer code, I enjoy designing/redesigning graphical things, I enjoy working with typography, I enjoy photographing — and mostly I enjoy constantly learning new things. So this was an easy combination: digital & web media production. Especially with web design work, there is a never ending river of things to learn. Right after you think you’ve got a handle on one technology, you hear about the Next Big Thing that everyone is already using, so now you have to learn that, too. It. Never. Stops. “Left brain” + “right brain”; I get to do it all.
  • Work for a medium-small entrepreneurial company. If you want the most freedom to branch into using your untapped skills and Scanner interests, you want to find a privately owned company that is about 40-100 people. This particular type and size of company is ideal for Scanners because this kind of company still has a lot of room to grow, expand, create new opportunities. They are more open to trying new ideas and letting their own people figure things out. If you work for this type of company, and the owner and managers are reasonable, forward-thinking people, all you need to do is show them you’re really interested and you’re able to deliver and they will give you rein to do what you want. You’re only constrained by how much responsibility and accountability you want to take on. I could write a book on this topic for Scanners.
  • Whenever I see something that is not working efficiently or doesn’t look good, something I know how to do better, I get involved. In my company, all it takes is speaking up to say you want to help and everyone is more than happy to let you. In this way, I’ve been able to slowly take on all photography jobs, including what used to be outsourced; move into web design; write and edit; and then take on the lead videography jobs. With videography, it wasn’t that I was qualified, but that I was interested in learning it more than anyone else. If I were continuing in this company, I could become the video producer within the next year by learning more about various effects, taking classes, and experimenting with company material on company time with company money. If you’re a Scanner wanting to learn new things all the time, but not necessarily wanting to pay for them all, this is the dream! Getting paid to learn!

And realise, I have a lot more interests than my job allows me to explore, still. I also get jonesed about anatomy, physiology, and improving these for individuals, but I can’t incorporate these at work—yet. That’s why I’m into yoga therapy on the side. As a Scanner, it’s not possible to do everything you want to do all at once.

Adding to ST & SquarePeg’s advice, mine would be to think about the things you like doing, not just a general activity, but the real underlying thing that puts you into Flow State. E.g.:

  • I said I liked lightweight coding, but that’s not really true: what I really enjoy is solving the puzzle of what I have to tell the computer in order to get it to do what I want it to do, using the least complicated set of instructions possible. It’s the logical problem solving that puts me into flow, not really the coding itself.
  • Same with photography: what I really enjoy is showing people something they wouldn’t have seen even if they had been standing next to me when I took the photograph, or using the exact same camera that I was using. There are these layers to the way things can be photographed. It’s really not about the expensive gear, the technical blah blah blah, or creating a beautiful image for me. It’s discovering how to tell the story I want to tell of a particular image in the best possible way, in my own way.
  • What I enjoy about coaching and training is finding ways to connect with different types of learners, simplifying complex ideas or instructions that suit a particular person.

So that’s my example.

Once you know what specific things get you into the zone, you start to realise that the activity label is not as important as the thing it allows you to do. This opens you up to many many many opportunities for work, and not just specific job descriptions.

If what you really love to do is solve the puzzle of making something work more elegantly, then you don’t have to just be a computer programmer.

Practical advice now:
  • Do things you love to do
  • Notice when you’re in the Flow State/Zone
  • Work out what specifically put you into the Flow State: what was giving you so much energy you could’ve done it all day?
  • Go to your minimum wage job and look around. What could you do there that would put you into the Flow State? Redesign the POS? Draw the sandwich board on the sidewalk? At my job in the art gallery lounge, redesigning the menus put me into Flow State.
  • Make a proposal to your manager or employer about doing one of those things. This could lead to something much more.
  • Try to think of some ways you could use some of your knowledge as a Medical Assistant to improve a medical office using your Flow State activities. Can you use some of your knowledge and transfer it to a more holistic practice? Make something real and then show it to people. Offer to do the same thing for their offices.

The last suggestions are vague because you haven’t indicated anything specific about your interests or skills. Try to focus on doing things instead of being something because the only qualifications (for any job) that matter are not the certificates but the real results you can create.

Good luck! Let us know how you’re doing!
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Re: uncertain of the scanner that I could be

Postby Scenario Thinker » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:05 pm

alyssad wrote: I have heard of the book "What Color is Your Parachute" though I never have taken time to read it. Do they have a copy of it online? I know that they sometimes have books online instead of having to buy them or take one out from the library.

It is revised every year, so the most current year has developments that have happened since the previous year. My first copy was 1981, and I've gotten a few since, just to see the differences (like I remember when the internet became big and was in a version, where it certainly wasn't in the 1981 version).
So, I'm sure you can find versions in libraries or rummage sales or second hand book stores, etc. The basic advice is pretty much the same, it's just that the research techniques have changed.

Also see his web site:
http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/
Although he says a lot of the links are out of date, and the site will be revised in October, 2013.
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Re: uncertain of the scanner that I could be

Postby emspace » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:19 pm

SquarePeg wrote:emspace, your post seems like I wrote it! I think you and I were handcrafted by the same Artist on back-to-back days. But I don't like to travel right now.


Heh! Time twins! :D
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Re: uncertain of the scanner that I could be

Postby emspace » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:24 pm

alyssad wrote: I have heard of the book "What Color is Your Parachute" though I never have taken time to read it. Do they have a copy of it online? I know that they sometimes have books online instead of having to buy them or take one out from the library.
[/quote]

Oh yes! And there’s an iPad version that walks you through all the exercises for $3.99! I bought it and only got to about the third leaf (out of maybe 8?). I was doing this while getting me résumé polished and now that it’s done, I’ve lost interest in completing the rest of the WCITP exercises. Yeah, my follow-through is the pits. :roll:

But it was only $3.99, anyway.
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Re: uncertain of the scanner that I could be

Postby elizagard » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:59 am

To answer your question, I do not think it is important to pinpoint one type of scanner. I am mostly sybil as I have many cyclical interests, but I identify with nearly all scanner types.

A few random things to consider:

Go to college, even community college. Most post college jobs will pay more than minimum wage. I went later in my 20s and it was one of the very best things i have ever done.

Try to talk your way into a nonretail job in a smallish company and then volunteer to do extra stuff. Figure out stuff that needs doing and ask if you can do it.

All jobs are worth doing well, even if it is copying stuff or filing. Know that it is not your life forever and merely a stepping stone to better things.

Ask your current manager what you can do to move up and make more money.

Find other part time work?
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Re: uncertain of the scanner that I could be

Postby elizagard » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:04 am

Also, i understand about the ethics as I decided against marketing because I did not want to be pressured to evade the truth. Consider nonconventional medicine that you can respect. My doctor has formal traing but also embraces alternative therapies.
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