Are you blind when it comes to your career?

Written by Debra Olshan Cooper,
President and Founder of Your Career Design lab

Today, I was at the Mercer Labs in New York City, watching an immersive exhibition. So much of it was about how we are blind to our environment, and it made me think about today’s young adults’ career search process. Often times when I ask them to tell a bit about themselves, they struggle to understand and articulate who they are. It is my purpose and passion to delve deep, to excavate one’s purpose and passion, and align them with their pursuits. Magical things happen when we can see who we are and where we want to go. Here are a few images from this extraordinary Mercer Labs exhibition, and some insights on how to avoid blindness in your career search.

Recognizing Our Blind Spots

One of the main takeaways from the Mercer Labs exhibition is how often we are unaware of our surroundings and inner selves. This concept is highly relevant to one’s career journey:

  • Self-Awareness: Many job seekers are blind to their own strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Without this self-awareness, it’s challenging to present oneself effectively in interviews or on resumes.
  • Environmental Awareness: Just as we can be blind to our physical surroundings, we can also be unaware of the opportunities and trends within our desired industries. Staying informed and engaged with industry developments is crucial.

Excavating Your Purpose and Passion

Understanding and articulating who you are is fundamental to finding a fulfilling career. Here’s why it matters:

  • Digging Deep: It’s essential to go beyond surface-level attributes and uncover your core purpose and passions. What drives you? What are you passionate about achieving?
  • Aligning Passions with Careers: Once you identify your passions, seek out careers that align with them. This alignment leads to greater job satisfaction and success.

Crafting Your Personal Narrative With a Compelling Story

In job interviews, the question “Tell me a little bit about yourself” can be deceptively simple. Here’s how to ensure you have a compelling response:

  • Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses: Understanding your own abilities and areas for growth allows you to present a balanced and authentic self to potential employers.
  • Set Long-Term Goals: Be clear about where you want to be in five or ten years. This vision helps you articulate your ambitions and how the role you’re applying for fits into your broader career plan.
  • Research the Industry: Knowledge about your chosen industry shows that you are informed and serious about your career path. This understanding helps you tailor your story to align with industry expectations.

Seeing the Path Ahead

Knowing who you are and where you want to go is essential for successful job searching. Here’s how to gain that clarity:

  • Self-Assessment: Regularly evaluate your skills, interests, and values. Tools like personality assessments and career coaching can provide valuable insights.
  • Continuous Learning: Stay curious and committed to learning. Whether through formal education, online courses, or industry events, ongoing learning keeps you adaptable and informed.
  • Networking: Build and maintain professional relationships. Networking not only opens up job opportunities but also provides insights and advice from those already in the field.

By focusing on self-awareness and continuous growth, you can navigate your career path with confidence and avoid the common blind spots that many job seekers encounter.


The Mercer Labs exhibition highlighted how we can be blind to our environments and ourselves. This blindness can extend to our job searches and career planning. By recognizing our blind spots, excavating our purpose and passions, crafting a compelling personal narrative story, and seeing the path ahead, we can navigate our career journeys with greater clarity and confidence. Remember, knowing who you are, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and having a clear vision for your future are crucial steps in avoiding blindness in your career search.

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