Visualizing my Why

Job Application
SWD Challenge


Self Reflection

This visualization is an intersection of some self-discovery, a task on a job application, and this month’s Storytelling with Data Challenge. The job application asked me to introduce myself in a way that represents me, giving examples such as an email introduction or a video. Being who I am, I felt a short PowerPoint Show would lend itself well to a demonstration of me! Now, what to include?

I’ve been thinking about my life choices, the breadth of activities that I do, and if they are truly adding value to my life. My counselor* encouraged me to find my “why” – why do I engage in certain activities or express certain behaviors? I started writing those activities and my motivation for doing them and felt my notes would benefit from a visualization.

I took advantage of this month’s SWD Challenge to draw a visual of how each of those “whys” overlap. I started with a sort of network diagram but found it didn’t add the richness and personality I was hoping to project. I ended up with a (simplified) set of overlapping circles that looks like a flower. I also figured out how to add tooltips in PowerPoint so I could add information on what activities live at the intersections of the circles without cluttering up the visual.

For the entire set of intro slides I focused on a few key points of my resume and incorporate a number of visual elements that I had not used before. Some of the visuals are imprecise yet relative (research and evaluation skills) while other are very concrete (champion for science). I am quite happy with how they turned out, though I can already see some aspects I would do differently. I believe they represent who I am and am hopeful that others will see the match with my skills and experience and their team.

*Mental health is important, and so many people are afraid to talk about it. If you or someone you know is struggling, I’m happy to share my experiences with online counseling during the pandemic, and it wasn’t all easy. Please reach out if you need.