Career Design and Development: A three-part course for Research Staff and DPhils

This 3-part workshop series is designed to enable creative thinking and equip you with insights and tools for developing – with confidence – your career. We will combine individual, pair and group activities to stimulate thinking, explore new areas and practice new ways of self-expression on work-related topics. Amongst other tools relevant to researchers, the course applies Stanford’s ‘design-thinking’ approach to integrating your life aspirations with your career thinking; see for an introduction to this material.

“Evidence based and evaluated – pretty unusual in the self-help genre. Useful for anyone wanted to work out what they want to do next, from students to career changers in their 50s.” (Amazon reviewer of Designing your Life)

The process relies on your participation in all three workshops, which are spaced by several weeks to allow experimentation and reflective exercises set in the first two workshops. In signing up for this workshop, you are also committing to workshops 2 (on 3rd Nov) and 3 (on 1st Dec). All will be via Zoom; details on their content below.

In the first workshop you will learn from your professional experiences to date, and begin finding relevant intersections between your skills, values, sources of joy and what the world will pay you for. We will introduce you to a framework for career development in which you can consider the decisions you have made so far and how to move forward. We will then explore the role of narrative in making sense of our own career journeys and in talking about them with others.
To apply this learning to your own life, you will be asked to read a little and complete some short exercises before the next workshop.

In the second workshop we will deepen the focus on ways to construct a working life to suit you and on identifying any assumptions that may be restricting your thinking. You will be supported to be more creative in your thinking than traditional career planning allows, and to consider a variety of options that emerge. We will also take a fresh look at ‘networking’ as something that can be rewarding and comfortable (even fun!) for all.
Through a further set of brief ‘take-home’ tasks, you will be able to develop your thinking and convert your learning into practical steps.

The third and final workshop will build on learning from the first two workshops and your exploratory activities between these, and give you a ‘road map’ for your next steps. You will reflect on potential career routes with input from your peers and the facilitators. We will then spot opportunities for developing your professional network and for gaining practical experience towards these goals, before working together to find solutions to any dilemmas or fill information gaps.

Course objectives:

  • Learn how a design approach can be used to develop and progress a personal career plan
  • Use visual methods to explore career options for the coming five years
  • Understand the generative potential of networking
  • Feel confident to consider, and try out, different career directions (within or beyond academia)
  • Learn strategies for narrowing down your options and making decisions
  • Define personal action points for developing your career, plus indicators for evaluating your learning.

Workshop 1: Tuesday 6th Oct, 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm, on Zoom
Workshop 2: Tuesday 3rd Nov, 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm, on Zoom
Workshop 3: Tuesday 1st Dec, 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm, on Zoom

All current DPhil students and research staff welcome. This workshop is not open to Masters or undergraduate students. To reserve a place please go to CareerConnect, then make sure you diarise and attend all three workshops which will be held on Zoom.