How to Create a Job You Won’t Detest

by Lynn
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2021 appeared more promising at the outset than it did in the previous year. We had bright new aspirations and ambitions for the future when we first started, but we all know how that ended. Whether our career goals were to change jobs, advance in our careers, or take on new responsibilities, some of them we miraculously accomplished, while others had to be postponed for the time being.

This year, we can apply the knowledge we have gained to create a more deliberate, flexible, and strategic approach to our futures. I refer to this approach as a Career Guide; it is a well considered strategy that outlines the necessary steps to advance our careers in ways that we find genuinely fulfilling.

Throughout my tenure in the corporate world and in my current role as an executive coach assisting others in taking the risks that would propel their careers forward, this strategy has proven beneficial to both myself and my clients.

Make Your Own Guide to Careers

There will be four segments in all to your guide. Each is designed to push you to consider your goals and where you should concentrate your efforts. Finding and implementing the actions that will enable you to match your job with your deeper purpose and set of abilities is the ultimate objective.

Part 1: List the “career traps” you are now in.

I frequently encounter folks at work who are obviously stuck in their careers. They are aware that something isn’t working for them, but they find it difficult to identify the problem or its cause. These circumstances are what I refer to as “career traps,” or thought and behavior patterns that we engage in because they are comfortable for us, despite the fact that they can have a detrimental influence on our effectiveness and productivity and can also result in bad health and feelings of loneliness.

Often, it takes a catastrophe to inspire us to pause, think, and identify the professional traps that may be stumbling us—a pandemic, losing our job, experiencing excruciating boredom, burnout, loss, or a serious illness.

Don’t hold off till that occurs. My experience has shown me that there are five typical pitfalls that workers encounter. Proactively ask yourself whether these traps are preventing you from moving forward.

Ambition trap: You’re a high achiever who is accustomed to accomplishment. You fear that if you slow down, your achievements may cease. When pressure builds up at work, you don’t know how to take it personally, so you just keep working harder.
Expectation trap: You always try to live up to the expectations of other people. So it’s ego-shattering to acknowledge that you’re having difficulties and are overworked. If you admit that you’re exhausted or incapable of handling things, you fear that people will think less of you.
The business trap is when you think of your busyness as a part of who you are and you love it. You prioritize your work above all else. You find it difficult to say no, to slow down, or to turn off as a result. It’s likely that you frequently put your health and time with loved ones at risk for your career.
Translation trap: Despite your best efforts to reach your current position, you are unable to get the happiness you were hoping for. Despite possessing all the qualities of a successful person, you feel as though you have lost your direction because your role doesn’t excite or please you. It also doesn’t fit with your goals. You think that your current job is all you know, so you worry about changing careers at the same time.
Adrenalin trap: You neglect to take proper care of your mind, body, and soul because you live your life on adrenaline. You are exhausted from too much labor. “I’ll take a break tomorrow,” you tell yourself, but tomorrow never arrives. You’ve forgotten that prioritizing your needs for self-care is essential for a healthy career and an important leadership trait.

Making conscious trade-offs is necessary to avoid falling into these traps (and to escape them), and determining what those trade-offs are will be made easier if you are clear about your priorities. This leads me to the second section: discovering your mission.

Section 2: Specify your goal.

Your purpose serves as your motivation, or the “why” behind your actions. It might be to live a happy and healthy life for some of us. For others, it can be to live a life of education and imparting knowledge. Research, experimentation, and trying new things can be the focal points of purpose. It may entail giving back to our communities, taking chances, or exploring uncharted territory. Research indicates that by centering our decision-making around our why, we can discover meaning in our job, regardless of our purpose.

What is your goal, then? There is no secret method or quick way to answer this question. It’s an iterative process that calls for some introspection. Start by focusing on the things that inspire and matter to you.

Why do you do the things that you do?

Take into account both your personal and professional lives before responding to this question. You cannot separate your work from the rest of your life, which makes this holistic approach crucial. You will be impacted professionally by decisions you make on a personal level (and vice versa).

Ask yourself the following questions if you don’t think the solution is obvious:

  • What is important to me?
  • Who or what motivates me?
  • When was the last time I felt really driven?
  • What impact do I hope to have on the world through my work?
  • When have I felt most confident in my personal identity?

After you’ve written down your answers, search for any recurring themes. You might even try making Pinterest boards for each question if you are a visual learner. The idea is to record your feelings, thoughts, impressions, and moods. As long as your ideas have purpose, they don’t have to be well-formed. Ideas will slowly seep through, bubble up, and the obvious solutions will become apparent. You’ll know you’ve touched upon something when it occurs. It will feel natural.

Knowing your mission, which by the way can alter and evolve over time, can help you be more deliberate about letting go of bad habits (career traps) and taking actions that will help you get closer to it. When choosing a job or professional path, or accepting a new project, for instance, you can ask yourself, “Is this in line with my values and priorities? Does it get me one step nearer to leading a life that is in line with my mission?

You will know you are prepared to proceed if you can answer “yes” to those questions.

Part 3: Make a selling statement and record your special talents.

Let’s say you want to work in a position that will challenge you and support your goal of lifelong learning. In order to secure the position, you will have to convince the potential employer of your qualifications, especially those that set you apart from other candidates.

Spend some time determining your USP, or distinctive skills – the combination of these that set you apart from the competitors and would convince any hiring manager to choose you.

Try this exercise to determine your USP:

Cut a piece of paper in half (or use a Word document or Google Sheets).
Put all of your known abilities and competencies in a single column. Incorporate both non-role-specific competences (like problem-solving, fostering relationships, or creativity) and role-specific technical and functional skills (like programming, design, or accountancy).
Ask yourself, “What value and benefit does this offer an employer?” for each item on your list, and then write your answers in the next column. For instance, your proficiency with technology can assist a company in enhancing its online presence, or your adeptness in fostering relationships could benefit an enterprise seeking to increase client interaction.
Examine your background and experience, then focus on your strongest points — the particular abilities that set you apart from the competition.

After gathering all of your information, use your analysis to begin crafting what I refer to as your “selling statement,” which is a succinct description of your background, values, and the potential contributions you can make to any team, culture, or company. Try combining different words and sentences until you get a language structure that truly expresses who you are.

Here are a few brief instances:

Example 1: I’m a driven sales professional who is dedicated to creating enduring bonds with my clients. I generate enduring, superior revenue streams with a track record of locating, fostering, and turning new leads into fruitful client relationships.

Example 2: I’m dedicated to changing the world by using my work to support others as they develop and learn in their positions. I’m good at fostering a feeling of unity among my team members so that, in a complicated and quickly changing working environment, we can produce results. I accomplish this by emphasizing each person’s unique talents.

There are several uses for your selling statement. It may be included to your LinkedIn page or resume, and you can use it as your elevator pitch to potential employers. But keep in mind that creating your message is a continuous process. You may and should go back and revise it as your knowledge and expertise expand. Additionally, employers’ priorities shift over time, so you should make sure your USP is relevant, timely, and focused.

Part 4: Take advantage of chances to grow.

Finally, take advantage of every chance that presents itself. This does not imply that you have to accept every offer. It implies that you must exercise strategic thinking and take into account how the opportunity fits with your purpose, objectives, and existing skill set as well as the talents you will need to acquire in order to advance.

As part of this, constantly be searching for opportunities to grow into your existing position and engage in engaging activities. For instance, you could look for work that allows you to learn new skills or volunteer to get engaged in projects that pique your interest. Talk to your supervisor or other leaders on your own initiative to find out what is feasible. Not only will your work become more engaging, but you’ll also surpass expectations in value and, most importantly, expand your network.

Career success is not something that just happens on its own or without assistance from others. You need wonderful people in your life to encourage, push, and support you on your journey. In this, your network is really important. A wide and deep network makes it easier to see beyond what seems possible, learn about changes in your business and profession more easily, and see new chances as they present themselves.

It’s time to get to work. You’ll be prepared to make this year your finest one yet if you have your professional guide written, your purpose in mind, and your concentration on target.

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