If Monday no longer excites you and you seem to be meandering on your work path, it’s time to do a rethink on your career. Unlike a few decades ago, when careers were seen as straight-up ladders that had to be scaled, they are now comparable to jungle gyms, offering scope for growth and success in almost every direction. But is the direction your jungle gym leading you the one where you want to go?
If the road that you set out on seems to have led you to a roadblock, it’s time to figure out what you want to do. It may not be easy, but asking yourself these five questions will help you #GoOutAndBe:
1. What am I good at?
Honing your inherent assets or core strengths will help you identify distinctive strengths. Playing to these ensures that you excel and make a success of every task assigned to you. According to Marcus Buckingham, author of Now, Discover Your Strengths, “Our strengths…clamor for attention in the most basic way: using them makes you feel strong. Take note of the times when you feel invigorated, inquisitive, and successful. These moments are clues to what your strengths are.” If you don’t have a ruling passion, identify things that you dislike. Activities that you put off – be it paperwork or returning calls – can drain your energy and it makes sense to pursue a career that doesn’t demand focus on those.
2. What do I dislike about my present set-up?
It’s extremely important to think things through before you decide to change status quo. Ask yourself what is it exactly that you don’t like about your current work environment. Do you think the work is “beneath” you? Do you dislike the people you work with? Or is your boss burying you under assignments that give you no scope for creativity? A complete shift seems extremely exciting, but if you can’t put your finger on what is troubling you in the current scenario you may find yourself in the same situation after you make your move. If you decide that your heart lies elsewhere, work out a structured professional development plan to gauge what you need to do at every stage of the career change journey. Figuring out the “why” of “what” you want to do is essential to be able to stick to your decision.
3. What kind of lifestyle do I want?
The only way to design a lifestyle-friendly career is to identify major lifestyle motivators that work for you. Begin by listing down your primary lifestyle goals and objectives. Would you like to work from home? Are you looking for increased travel? Do you need extra flexibility to care for your children or an ageing parent? Also consider other factors such as where you want to work, when you want to work and what activities you want to make more time for. Figuring out the elements that will make a day ideal for you – be it getting home in time to prep a healthy dinner or read more – will help you get a sense of what you really want to do and should be doing.
4. What will be the best environment for my personality?
Experts say if you want your career to fulfil you, you need to look for a job that focuses on your interests and your qualifications. About 80% of Fortune 500 and 89% of Fortune 100 companies use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test, which measures preferences like introversion and extroversion, to analyze personalities of employees and get them the right fit when it comes to roles and jobs. This “personality type test“, formulated by Paul Tieger, CEO of SpeedReading People LLC, can help you understand yourself and figure out what kind of job setting will work best for your personality. The right environment can help you grow and progress in your career much faster.
5. What is the way ahead?
Figuring out what you want to do and doing it is important, but so is a reality check. Ask yourself questions that need to be answered. “What is the scope for what I am planning to do?” ““Do I have the interest, talent and passion this will need?” “Do I need to sharpen my skill set by adding to my qualifications?” If the move you’re planning doesn’t have a good outlook, it doesn’t make sense – especially in the shaky job market scenario. Speak frankly to mentors and seniors for a forthright assessment before you go ahead. Don’t forget to keep adding to your repertoire of skills, and consider how and where you see yourself in the next 5-10 years. Looking at the big picture will help you put smaller pieces in place.
If you want your work to make you happy, you need to be who you want to be, not what others want to see.
It’s time to #GoOutAndBe. Millions of Jobs. Find Yours. Find something you’ll love doing.