This outline is also available in PDF.
Held: Monday, 21 January 2013
In today's class, we explore the purpose and processes of the course.
We also introduce the Color Q approach to assessing personality.
- I expect to have a shorter class today than normal.
- Please purchase (individually or with a group) a copy of Career Match.
- Jeff Dickey-Chaisins '81 recommends the following books for those thinking about careers. I'll try to pick out selections and make them available before the next class (but probably not before Friday). a. What Should I Do with My Life by Po Bronson. A great series of stories about people who have done unusual things that they didn't expect to do. b. The Pathfinder by Nicholas Lore. A workbook that makes you figure out what you do well or not, what you like to do, and where you might end up. c. Career Renegade by Jonathan Fields. A modern take on
do what you love, the money will follow..
- Background: The course web. Why do we have this course? How are we structuring the course?
- What do you want out of the course?
- General expectations
- Hosting visitors
- An introduction to the Color Q Personality Assessment
- Time to take Color Q
- Discussion of Color Q results
- Using Color Q
Yes, I know it makes no sense to start with a detour. Tough.
- I put as much as I can online.
- Those of you who have taken one of my classes before know the general
- Note that some of the stuff is just thrown together. (No surprise.)
- I thought we'd start the course by talking a bit about why we have
- The primary reason: We want to give you more opportunities to think about
your life after Grinnell.
- Our focus will be on your career(s) after Grinnell, but we may also
cover some other life issues.
- I was reflecting on a variety of issues:
- I feel limited in my knowledge when helping students think about careers
(few of you plan to become faculty at small liberal arts colleges)
- I hear from you that the CDO has traditionally been fairly limited in
how much discipline-specific help it can give (although that's been
getting much better)
- Students don't seem to listen to the few things I do know about
job hunting (work on extra-curricular projects throughout your
- Each time we have alums visit, I hear from current students how useful
it has been to talk to them.
- At the same time, I hear from our alums that they are not connected
enough to Grinnell.
- Doug Caulkin's Learning from Alumni seemed to provide a good
model for handling many of these issues. That is,
- I hear from students that the course is useful for career planning
(and perhaps for life planning)
- I hear from the alums who participate that being in the course gives
them more of a connection to campus
- At the same time, I think it's useful to hear the details of how people
in your discipline have approached careers. (They'll also
know more about important things like salaries and how Grinnell grads
are perceived in the CS workplace.)
- The opportunity arose to teach this course. (Basically - I'm on leave
and wanted to do this.)
- And so here we are.
- I don't everything about the Caulkins course, but I'm confident that this
course will differ in some ways from that course. (Not least is that
I have a smaller budget, so many of the alums will visit via Skype.)
- Most class sessions will involve a visit (physical or virtual) from an
alum who works in a job related to computing.
- Not all alums have undergraduate CS degrees. (Some are old enough
that we didn't have a CS degree; others moved from something else into
a CS-related field.)
- I don't plan to invite CS majors who went into other fields. But if
that's something you'd find useful to hear about, I can consider it.
- The alum may ask you to read things in advance.
- The alum will give a short (5-10 minute) biographical history of how
they ended up where they are.
- The alum will give a moderate-length (say, 40 minutes) talk on a
- We'll use the remainder of class time for questions and answers.
- I will do my best to videotape classes for future reference.
- You've now heard about what I'm planning. But I'm adaptable. I'd like
to hear your perspective.
- Why are you in this course?
- What other things would you like us to try to do in the course?
- I have three (more or less) primary expectations for each member of
- First, you must attend every class session. (You can miss one if
necessary. Beyond that, and it's dicey.)
- Second, you must serve as a host for some of our visitors. We'll
return to the details of hosting in a bit. Hosting a visitor will
give you the opportunity to get to know the alum in more depth. As
importantly, it will give you practice in some important activities
(talking to people you don't know, arranging details, summarizing
- Finally, at the end of the semester you will write a short
summary of what you got from the class.
- Each member of the class will be responsible for hosting one or more of
the visitors for the class.
- As a class, we'll decide whether we'll have individual hosts or whether
students can collaborate in hosting a visitor.
- What do you do as host? Here's a preliminary list that we can work
- Contact the alum about two weeks in advance of this visit for
- Provide information about the class and expectations.
- Tell the alum about yourself.
- Help the alum take the Color-Q personality inventory (see below).
- Learn enough about the alum to introduce him/her to the class.
- Negotiate a topic with the alum.
- Obtain a list of recommended readings.
- Distribute appropriate information to the class in advance of the visit.
- Any recommended readings or other exercises.
- A short biography.
- A description of the talk. (The description will also be posted in
- Make sure that the classroom is set for the visitor
- Skype for remote visitors; A/V setup for in-person visitors
- Introduce the visitor and moderate discussions.
- Note that I'll set up an information sheet for you to distribute to the
- We'll spend a few minutes signing up for hosting visitors. You can
choose based on the visitor or the date (or both). My goal is to get
most of the weeks before break covered now.
- When I was putting this course together, I asked Doug Caulkins
(who teaches the traditional version of the course) what was
important to do in the course. He told me that he considers
Color Q an essential part of the course.
- So, what is Color Q? It's a personality inventory - a way of
helping yourself identify key personality characteristics.
- Meyers-Briggs is a more famous inventory. Color Q is simpler and
faster (and cheaper).
- After doing the inventory, we'll disucss how you can use the
inventory (or other personality inventories).
- I'll give you about ten minutes to take the Color Q inventory so that
we can discuss it.
- So, what's the distribution in this class?
- Did you find the assessment accurate (at least in some sense)?
- What other things did you observe?
- So, why is color Q useful? (More generally, why is any personality
- Experience suggests that you'll be much happier in your job if you
choose a job that matches your personality type. (Not a surprise,
but you can more consciously think about characteristics of the job.)
- For this course, you may find it particularly useful to hear the
perspectives of people with similar colors to you.
- More importantly, you will interact much better with others if you
take the time to understand different personality types and learn
how to approach people with those types.
- Note that I do not follow this advice very well. But you'll find
it particularly useful as you deal with others.
- While the book presents suggestions for identifying the personality
types of others, it can be difficult. For example, I'm a Blue/Gold
introvert. While many people will notice my blue characteristics,
I lack some key gold characteristics (particularly "a clean desk")
and most people seem to think of me as extroverted.
- Please take the time to read your section in Career Match.
- Please take the time to read the general sections in Career Match.
- At the end of the semester, we'll return to the inventory to reflect on
why it is useful (or why it may not be useful).