Back in August, when I was approaching my 20 year anniversary at work, I sat down and spent some time reflecting on my career. Instead of the short-term reflections I had done each year – I went back to the beginning. I thought about how I had managed my career thus far. For the first few years, no management or thought had gone into some of my choices! I then spent time deciding how I wanted to go forward and create a new ‘chapter’ in my career. I wanted more focus, to do more of those things that fulfilled me and which satisfied my desire to help others to grow and develop. I wanted less of the activities that drained me and made me feel small and insignificant. (Think Delight/Depletion)
I spent a few hours over the month mulling it over, writing it out and analyzing until I had a personal mission statement and a solid understanding of where I would look for my next opportunity. I began talking to my friends and asking for introductions to other folks I didn’t know. I searched for and found a few new positions that fit the bill and applied. I spoke to my friends and mentors about each opportunity and honed in on one that made me giddy with excitement. I asked them for feedback after I described each opportunity. When did I seem really excited? When did my eyes light up? What was my physical reaction to each opportunity? This extra bit of information helped me make my final decision.
My new job is a lot of fun, full of challenges and I am learning new things each day. When people see me, they see the excitement and the satisfaction I am getting from my new role. They want to replicate that for themselves. As a Mentor and a Coach, I am happy to sit down with folks and work out a plan for them to follow to find their next opportunity. I like to bounce ideas around and talk about different avenues they can take and different people they can talk to about their next move. However, I am very disappointed when employees expect some magic answer or formula that will suddenly propel them in the right direction where they will immediately land the right job. In other words, they will React when the right thing comes along. Lately, that has happened more often. I am not sure why people think that job satisfaction should come easily. I believe you have to put yourself out there – market your skills, talk about what you love as you grow your network while seeking out opportunities. You pursue leads as you talk to the folks closest to you and they tell you to talk to others. You investigate roles and compare them to your delight/depletion list. In a word, you are Proactive in your approach.
How are you approaching your career? Are you sitting quietly waiting to React? Or are you pursuing a path of self-discovery and networking with others? Which approach will work best for you? How soon do you want or need results?