How are you managing your career in these times of uncertainty? Some of my clients feel stressed, others are looking for something new, and a few are stuck at the crossroads of stay or go. If you’ve been thinking about what’s next in your career but haven’t taken any steps to do so, here’s a few resources to consider.
Are you in need of a gentle prod? Glance through 16 Key Signs It’s time for a Major Career Change. When you start feeling like you’re on a hamster wheel and your go-to response to ‘how’s it going? ‘ is the standard, monotone, ‘livin the dream’, then it’s time to upgrade from money to meaning.
It is tough to move forward when you’re feeling stuck. If you’re ready to find something new but that soft nudge or 16 signs are not working, try adopting a new habit. James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits, writes about the four stages of habits: cue, craving, response, and reward. Cue is your trigger, it’s time to do something. Cravings are the motivational push behind every habit. Response is the actual habit which takes the form of an action and this action delivers the reward.
Henley Careers suggest adopting the habits of the 1% — you know those people who seem to float effortlessly through career-heaven, either internally promoted, or headhunted to another exciting role, or landing every job offer they go for. Henley suggests, “adopting the habits of the 1% today, you will find getting a new role much easier whenever you’re ready.”
There’s a lot of advice on career transitions, some good, and some…. well, not that great.
I agree with Clear but I’m not convinced on Henley’s advice.
Some of us fall into careers, while others have a steadfast plan. Now more than ever there is a desire to find meaningful work — a role that offers a sense of purpose, values joined-up, and plays to our strengths. Uncovering this combination requires work. Not a lot of work but discipline to stay the course during times of uncertainty. And, let’s face it, discipline is an effective habit.
So, how do you move towards meaning? Values is a good place to start. I’d lean towards value alignment rather than following the habits of the 1%. When you adopt the standards and values of someone else.. you surrender your own integrity. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “you become, to the extent of your surrender, less of a human being.”
Values help us understand our motivations. Some of my clients have expressed deep concern over the lack of connection of what they do and what they feel is their purpose. They’re successful but find themselves asking, “Is this it?” The root cause of soulless work is overrating the role and underestimating your values. This feeling of — is that all there is — emerges when you’ve lost sight of who you really are.
Values provide direction which in turn support our beliefs, priorities, and proclivities. We each carry a unique set of values which influence our career decisions and drive our actions. You’ll find similarities — integrity, honesty, learning — across friends and colleagues but you’ll differ on prioritization and how tightly you hold onto your values. Or how quickly you let them go.
Take a few minutes this week to consider these 4 questions:
- What’s the main reason for not taking charge of your career? Spend a little time with this one before moving onto the next.
- What’s one value you won’t compromise? And, why?
- Where do you find joy at work?
Next — Go for a walk …..
When you’re back, what’s bubbling up for you? What new insights have you uncovered about you, your current role, and what’s next?
If you’re still stuck, join our waiting list @Career Extensions
Jane Horan, EdD, is the co-founder of Career Extensions, a creative, interactive program to reconnect with what matters most at work for individuals and organisations. Bringing together 25 years of work experience in Talent and Organisational Development, experience, knowledge and research to help individuals find meaning at work. Career Extensions is based on two books, Now It’s Clear: The Career You Own and I Wish I’d Known That Earlier in My Career: the Power of Positive Workplace Politics.