This one encourages some practical reflection for anyone who works. Be it a career or a job, here are some points to think about to make the most of either. We are now deep into February, which means two things: the job seeking market has been drained of all the “New year New Career” fake searchers; and your appraisal cycle must be coming up shortly. So if you are serious about making your work life better, now is the time. Plus, it is always a good time for some clarity.
Sort out your passions and hobbies
Have a good long look at what you like doing and what moves your furniture. Spend some time evaluating your passions and hobbies to understand which are more practical than others and which are more likely to be manifested into job or used at work. For example, if you love throwing parties for your friends, there is a transferable skill that can be used rather broadly. If you collect antique pocket watches, the transferable skill is somewhat more niche. Before long you will have a list of transferable skills that you would love to use more in your working life.
By the way – if you don’t have passions or hobbies, make it your passion to find a hobby (or vice verse). Make a plan that consists of trying something new once a week and get interested in something.
Having sussed out what you like, spend some time to list what you are good at and like at work (which may not have come from your hobby list). Now think about where you would like to get to. A long term plan is good (in case you want to rule the world or become the industry guru on topic X), but also dial it down to the next 6 months and the next 12 months.
This doesn’t have to be a direct career goal. It can be a practical thing that will make your working life better: maybe you would like to have more music. Maybe you want to develop your flare for the dramatic. Maybe you want to use your research skills more (because research is so much fun!).
Be sure to revisit your “What Next?” statement occasionally (preferably, not exclusively after crappy days at work).
If you want to stay in your industry, then expand your understanding of the industry. Learn the trends in your markets, understand who the players are. Who are the Big Boys, who are the Disruptors. Be clued up on who they are recruiting – this speaks volumes of what is actually going on inside the organisation.
It’s also critical that you keep on top of what’s happening in your specialist area. Read more, participate in forums and conferences. Start a professional blog. Make sure you have a mechanism for continual professional development (CPD) that keeps you current.
Stop searching job titles, start searching trends
Use key words from your transferable skills and see what comes up. Now try key words directly linked to your hobbies. You will come up will weird and wonderful job descriptions that will open your eyes to the world outside your industry and specialism.
If you spend time methodically reading some job descriptions (this can be as little as 10 minutes, twice a week), you can identify what skills are sought after in which industry and how they are articulated. Do this long enough (say, 6 months) and you can see what the trends in the job markets are.
From here you can better manage your capability and development strategically. Rather than asking for training that you needed to produce yesterday’s work, think ahead. You employer will love you for it too.
Become a Disruptor
There is strong evidence that suggests many of us will be choosing the self-employed route. If your passions and skills add up to something unique that has a distinct need – you may be better off setting up shop rather than finding someone who will pay you for it squarely every month.
Are you at peace with your job? Let us know! Comment below.
You can use these tips if you work for an organisation, lead one, or have your own. If you would like to learn more about any of these stages, get in touch.
Photo credit to Raven3k via sxc.hu.