Ultimately, your goal is to secure the next right employment for yourself… that must start with your identification of what right is. THAT requires some exploration, identification of key elements of your Career FIT, and planning to pull it all together, create focus… make it happen.
This week’s Session: Discovering Your CareerFIT… Thursday, February 2, 8:45 AM at The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison.
Understand that managing your own career involves three key ingredients:
- Confidence in knowing that your career is on the right path;
- Continuous research and networking leading to awareness of potential “next steps…” to keep your career moving forward;
- Competency with job-changing skills.
To manage your career wisely has you extending the same concept. Consider some of the factors listed below … Examine each factor through the questions listed – and then ask “does this opportunity fit me?”
Work Requirements and Expectations: What is the next appropriate work for you? Is the work process or project oriented? If it’s process oriented, are the requirements and expectations clear? What kinds of projects will you work on? Will you work on one project at a time, or multiple projects? Are the projects long term or short term? Will you work on a project long enough to see the end result? Is it important to you to be able to see the project as a whole, including the result? Or will you be content to do the work without a big picture understanding?
Work Environment: Will the work space be a source of comfort and confidence for you? How formal or informal is the environment? Hectic, fast paced? Will you have the opportunity to have flex time, or to tele-commute? How many hours a week does the employer expect you to work? Will you have the freedom to wear casual clothes? What is a typical day like at the company you are considering? Would they allow a “trial visit” or at least a site visit?
Career Path: Is there a defined succession plan? What position(s) can you move to next? How long do new hires generally stay in the same job? How quickly do people get promoted? Are your opportunities for professional development well defined and available to you? Are mentors available?
Training and Personal Development: what kind of training will you get from the employer to do the job? What kind of training will you get to stay current in your area of interest? Are the answers to these two questions different? Does it matter to you if the answers are different?
And, What about YOU???
Strengths Strengths differ from skills, in that your strengths were not learned or taught, but inborn. The kind of things which you find easy to do, when others struggle with the same task, can be thought of as a strength. Perhaps you have used strengths on the job in the past, and if so, you should consider leveraging that strength in your future.
Unfortunately, many people never recognize their strengths, or don’t see a way to use them in the work roles they have played. But, what if you could….?
Skills What we have learned, developed, or have experienced in the workplace. Those tasks you have performed for another employer, for pay, in the past. You need to consider skills in two ways:
- Competency, or how good you are at the skill, as well as
- Motivation, how you feel about performing the skill.
You want to focus on skills where you have both High Competency and High Motivation for your future career development. Be careful about those skills with High Competency, but Low Motivation. If you would rather never perform a skill that you have done well for years, it might not be wise to include that skill in your personal marketing collateral materials.
Interests What kind of things would you enjoy doing, or learning about, even if there was no paycheck involved? Can you identify some topics or activities to which you are, and have always been, naturally drawn? These might be called your Interests, and they are a key to career success.
Passions are simply very strong interests, and you may have heard someone give career advice about “following your passion!) Interests combined with skills can be very rewarding in the workplace.
Personality/Emotional Intelligence We are all different from one another, in many different ways. Those differences do not make us wrong, or bad, but they can create conflict or poor communication between people who do not appreciate or understand natural differences.
Learning how you “see the world” differently than other people do can provide clues to how to better understand or relate to people. This can provide a major advantage in a person who has to work with others, or lead others. What are your natural preferences? The answer to this question can guide a person to make better decisions regarding their career.
Another difference that has gotten a lot of attention in recent years surrounds the issue of Emotional Intelligence. This is the degree by which a person is both aware of their and other’s emotional state, as well as the degree by which they manage those emotions. It seems likely that the higher your EQ, the more likely you will find success in relationships and in the workplace.
Values What is most important to you, and what will you protect or defend if necessary? How do you expect to be treated in the workplace, by co-workers and leaders? What are the “rules” by which you choose to live your life? These are the rules that define how you, and others, should behave in society. These “rules”, or values, can be the most important self-awareness a person should draw from when considering career moves.
If the work you do, or the people and organization where you perform you work, share some of your highest values, you are more likely to feel satisfied and fulfilled in that work. Where our higher values are routinely violated, or when we are required to abandon some of them on a regular basis at work, the result can be frustration, anger, dis-engagement, and ultimately burn-out.
The problem is that we rarely think about our values, and probably can’t list them if asked. Even though we constantly use them to react to people or events. Most values are buried deep in our minds.
NEXT WEEK’s Session: Communicating and Achieving CareerFit.