IS THE ROLE RIGHT FOR YOU?
I’ll admit, it used to irritate me no end when I would hear people say “I love my job” or “I would do this even if I wasn’t being paid” or the VERY worst… “You never work a day in your life if you are doing something you love”
My inside voice would respond with a resounding “Blaaaaahhhh”
Often when we start on the journey of looking into a new career path, we fall into the trap of believing we should be grateful for any job and we spend more time worrying about how to please the prospective employer or sharp suited agency recruiter than assessing if this is the right job for you. I spent a long time doing just this. It was when I finally learned that I needed to tip this behaviour on it’s head that I was able to achieve real career fulfillment – doing something I not only love, but am really good at. And yep… I don’t feel that I am ever working because I am doing something I love. I have become “that” person.
I would love to tell you the solution is easy. The reality is it takes time, a lot of self-reflection and the ability to be vulnerable. But if you are willing to put in the work, it is well worth it. Here are a few of my top tips to get started.
We are living in a frenetic world, surrounded by stimulus and external pressure. For me, being quiet and still for a small amount of time each day really helped me think. I would take a walk with my dog on the beach every morning and talk to no-one. This time was non-negotiable. I would observe the sky, the clouds and the waves. Listen to the sound of the gulls and taste the bitter salt air. I concentrated really hard on clearing my mind of the chaos. Every time my jumbled thoughts bubbled to the surface I would leave them behind on the beach in exchange for a seashell or fragment of beach glass. Needless to say I had pockets full of treasures! It didn’t happen immediately, but after committing to this daily practice for a time, soon ideas drifted into my thoughts. Some were crazy, others had flaws but among them were some gems I hadn’t had the time, space or courage to consider before.
Now this is not just some kind of hocus pocus. It is a proven fact that when we’ve just finished some effort or task that took a lot of energy, when we relax and let our imagination float, Theta waves take control in our brain. This can occur when we drive on a freeway, stand under the shower or go for a run. A healthy level of Theta waves promotes creativity, emotional connection and intuition. In this state of mind you are poised to make the best and most creative decisions possible.
Honour your values
Most of us find it really difficult to articulate our top five values and it’s challenging to tell when expectations stop and core values start. For many years values was a dirty word at work. It was all about being a super human, with no regard for feeling. It was about smashing out the results. Often there is pressure to toe the line with company values, leaving our own at the front door. But the reality is, that our core values are our superpower. When we harness our values and bring them to work proudly, the possibilities are limitless providing that we are working with a group of people who share those same values. As Simon Sinek says “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
My list of top 5 values are my screensaver and I am reminded and accountable to live by them every day at work. I have learned the hard way that the minute they don’t align, I’m in the wrong job.
Ask the right questions
So most of us know we should ask questions at the end of the interview. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “What would a typical day be like?” “Would there be an opportunity to progress?” and “What sort of training is involved?” All valid questions but all avoiding the fundamental question of is this right for me?
If one of your top 5 values is family (like me) then you should be courageous enough to ask “Can you give me an example of how your company supports employees to balance work and family time?” It is OK for you to ask questions which require a prospective employer to help YOU make the decision about culture fit. It is OK for you to critique and contemplate their answers just as they do yours.
Career change can be one of the most empowering and stimulating times of life if we practice courage and truthfulness. We can’t do it alone and it’s not always easy, but if you put in the work it is possible to be “that person” who loves what they do and never works a day in their lives.