News

2nd May 2013

Six Ways to Stop Worrying and Find Work You Love

Quitting work that leaves you unfulfilled requires a lot of courage. Roman Krznaric in http://www.yesmagazine.org sets out six pieces of essential wisdom to help you get ready to take the plunge.

1. Confusion is perfectly normal

First, a consoling thought: being confused about career choice is perfectly normal and utterly understandable. We can become so anxious about making the wrong choice that we end up making no choice at all, staying in jobs that we have long grown out of. Then add to this our built-in aversion to risk. So our brains are not well calibrated for daring to change profession. We need to recognize that confusion is natural, and get ready to move beyond it.

2. Beware of personality tests

Many people are enticed by personality tests, which claim to be able to assess your character, and then point you towards a job that is just right for you. It’s a reassuring idea, but the evidence for their usefulness is flimsy. So don’t let any anyone tell you what you can and can’t be on the basis of a personality pigeon-hole they want to put you in.

3. Aim to be a wide achiever, not a high achiever

For over a century, Western culture has been telling us that the best way to use our talents and be successful is to specialize and become a high achiever, an expert in a narrow field—say a corporate tax accountant or an anesthetist.  But an increasing number of people feel that this approach fails to cultivate the many sides of who they are. For them, it makes more sense to embrace the idea of being a “wide achiever” rather than a high achiever. Today this is called being a “portfolio worker,” doing several jobs simultaneously and often freelance.

Ask yourself this: What would being a wide achiever encompass for me?

4. Find where your values and talents meet

The wisest single piece of career advice was proffered 2,500 years ago when Aristotle declared, “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.” And he would surely endorse contemporary research findings showing that those pursuing money and status are unlikely to feel fulfilled.

The best alternative, says Harvard’s Howard Gardner, is to find an ethical career, focused on values and issues that matter to you, and which also allows you to do what you’re really good at. What jobs would you be excited to try?

5. Act first, reflect later

The biggest mistake people make when changing careers is to follow the traditional “plan then implement” model. You draw up lists of personal strengths, weaknesses, and ambitions, then match your profile to particular professions; at that point you start sending out applications. But there’s a problem: it typically doesn’t work. You might find a new job, but despite your expectations, it is unlikely to be fulfilling.  Ask successful career changers how to overcome the fear and most say that in the end you have to stop thinking and just do it. Challenge yourself: What  is the very first step you can take towards trying out a new career?

6. Discover a little madness

Changing careers is a frightening prospect: of those who want to leave their jobs, 50% are too afraid to take the plunge.  Ask successful career changers how to overcome the fear and most say the same thing: in the end you have to stop thinking and just do it. That may be why nearly all cultures have recognized that to live a meaningful and vibrant existence, we need to take some chances—or else we might end up looking back on our lives with regret.

It is only by treating our working lives as an ongoing experiment that we will be able to find a job that is big enough for our spirits.

 

12th August 2012:

How Knowing Your Purpose Can Help in a Midlife Career Change

When you are in the process of a midlife career change, knowing what your purpose in life is can help point you in the right direction for your dream career according to http://www.careerchangeforboomers.com.  But what do we mean by “life purpose” and how do you go about discovering what it is?

If you are going through a midlife career change and want to envision a career that is based on your life purpose, try the following approach.

1. Determine your strengths. Life purpose is directly related to personal strengths. E.g., if communication is your strength then your purpose may be found in that area.

2. Determine your passions. Passions are the things you love to do – with or without external rewards (like money or recognition).

3. Determine your causes. Identify the causes that matter to you. Is there a condition in the world that makes you feel discontent or compels you to action?

4. Find the sweet spot. After determining your strengths, passions and causes find the overlap between them. That’s the sweet spot, where you’re likely to find the most fulfillment in your work life.

5. Your mission… Based on the information above, write a personal mission statement – it can help guide your passions throughout your career.  Try setting goals that “add value” – a goal that improves the quality of people’s lives or of the earth. Whatever your job, it’s ultimately through helping others that we all achieve our life purpose.

 

15th May 2012:

Navigating a career change

If you are really looking to move the world forward, begin by innovating on the inside, and disrupt yourself, says Harvard Business Review. But be prepared for a rough ride.

Whether you’re starting your own business or joining a different industry, making a mid-career move can be a challenge.
Consider these three tips when contemplating a shift in your career trajectory:
1. Prepare to feel scared and lonely. Career moves can often involve loss of stature and financial stability. Accept that difficult feelings are part of the process.
2. Settle for an uncharted path. Changing careers means leaving the well-trod path. You won’t know from the outset what comes next, but that’s what taking risks entails.
3. Use new metrics. Perhaps earlier in your career you used money or fame to measure your success. Maybe now you want more autonomy, flexibility, or to make a positive impact on the world.
Adapted from: Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (http:\\www.hbr.org).  ‘Disrupt Yourself’ by Whitney Johnson.

 

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