Time for a Career Year-End Review

“To thine own self be true.” No truer words could be said on the journey to successful career management.  As we are ready to go into a new year, what better time to do a review of your career.

It all starts with self-assessment – truly knowing who you are and what you are capable of doing.  Without this insight and knowledge, you will spend your life ‘flying the by the seat of your pants’ and getting by.  I have seen people go from job to job and through different careers because they can’t find the meaning and happiness they are seeking, and they aren’t sure why.  I have talked with many people who have been in a career and not feel fulfilled, and they are not sure why.

I believe it is because they have not done a self-assessment to truly understand themselves and then see how the results  relates to their career.  Assessment involves knowing your strengths, weaknesses, skills abilities, interests, talents, and values.  It takes looking ‘hard’ at oneself in order to uncover the truths.  Doing so will help you identify career paths and goals.  It will also help you identify and understand what you want from both work, and non-work roles, and then get clearer on what skills and abilities you will bring to those roles.

Self-Assessment should consist of:
1, Values – these are abstract outcomes of what you want to attain or individual differences of what we want from work.  There are 6 values we all possess – theoretical, economic, aesthetic, religious, social, nd political.  If you value economics highly, you will not be happy in a job that does not pay well.
2. Interests  – these are the likes and dislikes we attach to specific activities or objects and are expressions of what we like to do. These can come from a variety of factors, such as family life, social class, culture, or the physical environment.  Choosing a career that is compatible with your interests will lead to higher levels of involvement and satisfaction.
3. Personality – these are the characteristics that distinguish you from others.  There are 5 personality factors: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to new experiences.
4. Talents – these refer to aptitudes or capacities or developed skills and proficiencies you possess; also are reflective of what one can do if they received the proper training and development. These are vital to our career planning process as they can set constraints on our potential accomplishments and are necessary when making career decisions.

There are a variety of ways for self-assessment.  Sit down with paper and pen and list them.  If you are stuck, you can ask others – family or friends- what they see in you as it relates to the four assessment areas.  You can also take some tests, such s the MMPI, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, the DISC, the Vocational Preference Inventory, or The Bliss Inventory.  These tests are designed to help you understand your personality style and how it would best fit in with a career path and how you will fit in with that culture.

Here are a 10 questions to include in your assessment; if you answer with ‘no,’ then this is an area to focus on in the coming year:

1. I know and follow ALL the rules established my organization.
2. When given a task or assignment, I regularly try to do MORE than is expected of me.
3. I a make a habit of volunteering for work. When I see things that need to be done, I do them without waiting for others to take the lead.
4. I’m a considerate coworker. I regularly clean up after myself and avoid behaviors that may disturb others or cause them additional work.
5. I remember my promises and commitments, and I KEEP them.
6. I treat everyone with the same level of dignity and respect that I want for myself and the people I care about
7. I value and appreciate people with ideas, backgrounds, and demographic characteristics that are different than mine.
8. I continually look for and create opportunities to learn new things and I avoid “I know all I need to know” thinking.
9. I keep my boss informed of things I’ve done, what I’m working on, and any problems I’m experiencing that negatively impact my work.
10. I look for and seize opportunities to help my coworkers be successful rather than just being in it for myself.

This assessment should be done throughout your lifetime.  Often, our interests and talents will change and we may become disillusioned by our current job.  In order to successfully manage a change, it is vital to know ourselves and why those changes occurred.  We may have grown in our thoughts and beliefs; understanding this growth will help n our preparation in the event that a career change is made, whether planned or unplanned.

A self-assessment will keep you focused on your career and staying the course to being in the right career and organization. Overall, you will have more job satisfaction and higher results for a lifetime of success.

Dealing with Change is Haarrdd!

All of us have been through change at some point in our lives; some changes are of our own making, but can still be hard. Some changes are not in our control, which are more difficult. Of course, there are some changes that feel effortless in adapting to them.

Why is change so difficult to accept? A lot of it has to do with our genetic make-up. Our internal alert system (the amygdala) is always looking for threats to our safety; when something new comes along, it feels different so the alarm automatically goes off as a threat, leading to how you will deal with this new situation.

Depending on how you adapt, you will be in fight-flight-or freeze mode: fight is when you don’t know how to deal with a situation, or want to; fight is resistance; freeze is ‘this is too overwhelming for me to do anything about it.’ When we feel overwhelmed in our ability to deal, one of these will occur. Now, it is important to point out that there are individuals who adapt to new situations well, which is so interesting to study how they are able to be so receiving.

Rick Maurer, in his book Beyond the Wall of Resistance, says it comes down to two issues: 1) the goal or situation we are faced with is not clear to us, and 2) we don’t understand how that new change will benefit us. If one of these two are out of alignment, resistance will occur. Maurer also says that resistance occurs and results if we don’t like the idea or if we don’t really trust that the person leading the change will follow through on their words.

This happens frequently in the corporate world. Organizational change occurs frequently, of which many of the reasons are not known to employees and are not conveyed well, if at all. I never understand when an employer says they don’t want their workers to know of an upcoming change ahead of time so as not to upset them – don’t they realize the impact when it does occur, i.e. anger, disappointment, broken trust, etc.?

Change is harrdd. Plain and simple. But, there are ways to get through a change, if the emotional work is done which is really the root cause of resistance. Big changes, such as losing a job, going through a divorce, or a death, all can overtax the system with loss of which these will take time to get through.

But other changes, such as an organizational change, seem scary due to a fear of the unknown – will my job, pay, benefits, etc. stay the same? Will I have to learn new skills or will my hours continue? Whatever fear elicits will vary by individual but the fear is real. How you deal with it will determine how you get through and adapt to the new situations.

  • Recognize that change is hard but that you will get through whatever comes up: this seems simplistic but the natural response of the ego is ‘I can handle whatever comes up, it’s no big deal.’ Until it is. Being aware that you may not like the proposed change is the start of controlling any resistant thoughts that arise and help you recognize that you have been through many changes before and survived, which helps to give calm when you hear the news.
  • Take time to uncover the source(s) of any resistance felt: getting into deep-level awareness of why you don’t want the change will go a long way to overcoming these objections. You can now challenge any negative thoughts and begin to identify ways that will help you to cope better and accept new changes.
  • Identify your strengths in dealing with past challenges so you can take them in dealing with new ones. You are stronger than you believe and will make it through. However, how you deal will either determine your success or failure in your role. I once worked for a company that went through four mergers within a relatively short period of time; resistance was rampant at first, then turned into resignation. But I looked at each of these as a challenge, and an opportunity, to shine within the new realms that led to recognition and, eventually, promotional opportunities. You can do the same.

If you’re ready to take your career to the next level and  how to get the most out of yourself, and your people, we’re here to serve. We have our Fableader program where we will:

  • Look at your goals, challenges you are facing, and opportunities you might be missing. 
  • Uncover any hidden problems that may be sabotaging your desired results
  • Create an action plan and implement it together so that you finally get the results you have been looking for but were unable to find.
  • Address challenges that come up along the way, leaving you feeling renewed, re-energized, and inspired to take action and get faster results

If you’re ready to get started, contact us today to schedule your Fableader Breakthrough Strategy Session. barbara@cyscoaching.com Visit our website at https://cyscoaching.com

So What Goes in a 'Plan B'?

Yesterday, I mentioned the necessity of having a ‘Plan B’ as part of truly managing one’s career. Having well-developed and thought-out plans for how your work-life throughout your time in the workforce will lead to having more confidence, as well as control, over how they play out.
To give you an example of why – and how – this works, is a story of someone I’ll call John, who works in an IT role in a fairly large company. While John has enjoyed his job, he feels that the culture is too strict – he likes movement and is starting to resent the increasing longer work hours – and he has desires to move up into a lead role. John has found that he is becoming apathetic in his job, not caring much. One day, John shows up to work, only to be told that the department is too ‘heavy’ so he, along with two others, were let go.
John, along with his two ex-coworkers, decided to go to lunch to commiserate and support each other. As John sat listening to the other two talk badly about their boss and the company (“what losers – they’ll be sorry”; “I gave them my all and this is the thanks I get”; “why me – Larry never does anything”), he just sat there not saying much. Why? Because John knew he had a plan to follow for how he would go about finding another job; he had taken time to keep on top of his work and to plot out his future. He had a “Plan B.”
So, what goes int a Plan B? Here are some examples, so you can develop yours:

  • listing of your skills, aptitudes, passions
  • listing of all work experiences, no matter how small
  • your strengths (the SWOT is a good tool to use)
  • your values
  • your work expectations
  • your preferred work environment (top-down, bottom-up, open, quiet, etc.)
  • companies you want to work for (if not yours); identify their culture, jobs they hire for, job requirements, identify hiring managers
  • ensuring you have references in place
  • resume is up-to-date
  • identify people you can network (or keep in contact) with who you can contact
  • job search strategies, i.e. job search engines, professional associations, social media sites, groups, print, etc.
  • short-term goal (up to one year)
  • mid-term goal (1-5 years)
  • long-term goal (5+ years)

Of course, you may add to this list; ask yourself “What would I do if I lost my job today?” and then go into problem-solving mode; you’d be surprised at how many ideas you could come up with – these go in your plan, also.
Take control of your career today – don’t go on autopilot and leave it up to chance. It’s your responsibility to do so. Your future career success depends on it.
Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting focuses on workplace happiness and organizational success. If you need help gaining clarity on your business or career goals, why not get some help – stop the struggle and call today to get started! https://www.cyscoaching.com or barbara@cyscoaching.com

Are You Managing Your Career or is It Managing You?

In this day and age of careers, a great question to ask yourself is: “Are you managing your career or is it managing you?” Often, it seems that most people today (in history?) scramble and find a job; after all, isn’t that what we’re told? Making money is the goal in order to make our way in the world, which entails work.

A question for you – were you ever taught in school of what a career entails and how to go about deciding what it is that you wanted to do for a good portion of your life? Personally, no. I don’t recall one teacher who had us research careers and then how to go about finding the path that would lead me to finding fulfilling work. Now I had made a decision on a path but, as life circumstances get in the way, the college I was going to attend had teachers who decided that they wanted more money and went on strike. This changed my whole path.

I found it was hit and miss in courses I took, not knowing what career I wanted to be in. So, from pushing by my mother and a desire to go away, I transferred to an out-of-state university and a new college path. Looking back, I only knew how exciting an advisor I had made this new major sound but, unfortunately for me, it never felt aligned with, even though I had successes in it. Until I started my own business.

My story is not uncommon; my office is near a major university so I get students who come in struggling with classes or feeling unhappy with their current state. Many chose their major due to a parental influence, or it sounded good (or friends who were going to pursue the same degree) but they now find themselves unfocused, having difficulty waking up to go to class and, sometimes, failing. I feel so sad for those who find themselves in this state who are about ready to graduate.

Sadder yet is that these stories are common among those already in the workplace, who find themselves in a job they don’t like or can’ figure out how to navigate to be successful. They often don’t like the work they do, finding it routine or boring; others want to move into a new role or up the ladder but feel there are no opportunities to do so; while another group can’t stand the people they work with or the overall culture of their department (or organization).

These examples are a big part of why our current engagement level continues to stay around 33% (Gallop, September 2017). People feel frustrated with their work, with their boss, with coworkers, with the time they have to spend in work, with not feeling they are paid enough, and not having enough time for themselves and their family. Essentially, they are allowing their career to manage them and their life.

Is it possible for one to manage their career? I emphatically say YES! There are many components that go into this but, once started, self-management becomes easier. Here are some components to consider:

  • Self-assessment/awareness: this entail fully owning your skills, abilities, aptitudes, values, beliefs, expectations, interests, to name a few. This helps you to know what you have to offer and your motivation to best manage how your career path goes
  • Awareness of your preferred work environment – not everyone aligns with how things are run in a business, no matter the size. Knowing the type of culture, i.e. the environment, values, and the way things are run, will lead to having more satisfaction.  Knowing yourself and how you act in situations is important to finding them; as an example, I thrive in busier and more active environments, where I can move around and interact with others so an organization that prohibits this type of movement will not work for me – this I know for sure
  • Goal setting is a critical component – where do you want to go in your career? Is it to be a CEO or VP, or other position? Perhaps it’s an industry you want to work in? Having that end-goal in front of you will lead you to investigate how you will go about getting there
  • Good actionable steps – these are the daily actions you will take as you work on the identified goals. This can include: working on a particular skill to get better at it, raising your hand to take on more challenging work so you get noticed for upward mobility, networking internally to get to know those who can move you up; it also can include ensuring your resume is up to date, looking for those internal opportunities, and working on your personal development.
  • Having a clear plan to follow – this means writing all of these steps down, so you can refer back to them frequently. I’ll tell you a story of a young, late twenty-something, gentleman who I was helping with his interviewing skills; he was going after a very high-level position with a retail giant. I was amazed at how far he was in his career at such a young age. He said that he started working for this company when he was 18 but knew that he wanted to move up every two years; he learned everything he could about the job he was doing in the first year, and then, in the second, he learned all he could about the position he was going for – he reached all his goals (and did get the position he was going for). He had a clear plan and followed  it.

Managing your career is not only empowering but your responsibility. Having control over your work-life will give you more control over you life overall; you will feel more empowered, more focused, and more motivated to go after what you say you want. I think identifying resources you may need is another part of the plan, i.e. a mentor, hiring a coach, as relying on others isn’t a bad thing in some situations. Don’t allow your career to manage you – take back control and get in charge of your career; you will be glad you did.

Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting focuses on workplace happiness and organizational success. If you need help gaining clarity on your business or career goals, why not get some help – stop the struggle and call today to get started! https://www.cyscoaching.com or barbara@cyscoaching.com

The Top 10 Work Values

During self-assessment, which is a crucial step in one’s career management process, an area of importance to understand is one’s values.  Values are “the beliefs about the qualities of human life or the types of behavior that an individual wants to attain” (Greenhaus & Callanan, 2006).  Values usually develop early on and can be learned behaviors or patterns that one esteems in their life.  In regards to a career, values include the preferences one has about the rewards, payoffs, policies, or leadership of their working life.  Schwartz (1999) identified the 10 top values that are relevant to the world of work.  It is important that you identify the value(s) that are important to you so that your job or profession will meet your value-orientation and help you be more engaged in your work and for higher job satisfaction.  See which of these top 10 are important to you:

  1. Power
  2. Achievement
  3. Hedonism (pleasure)
  4. Stimulation
  5. Self-direction
  6. Universalism (applies to all)
  7. Benevolence (kindness for the good of others)
  8. Tradition
  9. Conformity
  10. Security

Not aligning your values with your work can cause you a lot of stress and distress in both your personal and work life.  Are there any values that are not on the list that have high relevance to work?

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