08 Apr Is Your Career Right For You?
Is Your Career Right For You: Assessing the Evidence
In our last blog posts we’ve looked at a Values exercise. If you haven’t done this exercise I would urge you to do it now. You will need your results from this section. This is where we are going to ask is your career right for you.
To be honest, we can do a hundred exercises, but nothing is as good as your gut feeling. If you know that you are unhappy in what you are doing then you’ve already answered your question, You don’t need me, a therapist, your spouse or your best friend to confirm that. Likewise, if you know that you are on the right track you can feel it in your bones…sometimes!
For some of us it’s not so straight-forward. We may love what we are doing one day, but hate it the next. We may be unsure if our feelings about our career are being clouded by an employer, workplace or colleagues that aren’t working for us, right now. Or we just don’t know. It looks right on paper and this is what we’ve worked for, but we are just not feeling what we think we should be feeling. Perhaps we didn’t quite understand what was involved before we committed ourselves. Maybe we allowed parents, a partner or teachers to sway us. Or maybe we just “fell into a career”. It happens!
Asking is your career right for you
Let’s look back at all the data you’ve amassed. How does what you do stack up against it?
Does your career or workplace contravene or contradict any of your values?
Perhaps one of your top values is health and you’re working in an area that’s not great for your mental health. Or, maybe you value security and your current job is never going to be able to offer that.
Common values that my clients have found under attack include:
- A sense of community
- Giving Back
- Legacy – leaving something for the next generation
Career, Role or Workplace?
The next question to ask yourself is whether it is your career choice, your actual job role within that career, or your workplace that is going against those values? If you are working in financial services and feel that sales targets leaves little room for integrity, it may be that you just need to change your employer rather than get a whole new career.
Are your Values represented in your career?
This isn’t always relevant. Some people are happy to work at something that doesn’t necessarily fit in with their values, but also doesn’t work against them either. So, you may be working in PR or marketing and enjoy your day to day work, and get paid a decent amount. You can pursue some of your values like community or giving back in your spare time.
Others may actively want to do work that reflects their values. If they are working in PR or marketing. they may decide that they’d like to sidestep to working for the charity sector. My sister and I make a good illustration of this. My sister has consistently worked in the charity sector, choosing jobs that allow her to make a difference. In my twenties I was drawn to PR because I found it fun, glamorous and could use my writing abilities. Later in life, I wanted to move into a field where I could help people, hence my jump into psychology. My values had changed, and that’s an important point.
Values Can Change
Values can change overnight or they can change with time. If you are diagnosed with a serious disease or health condition, health and family and possibly security will clamber up your list. As we get older health tends to become more important anyway. We just don’t take it for granted any more. Likewise we may find our work unmotivating or even meaningless. This could happen suddenly, or that feeling may grow over time. This is why regularly checking on what your current values is a good idea. With that knowledge you can look at how your career and life measures up and if you have to make any changes.
What conclusions did you draw from looking at your own values and your current or desired role or career?
Follow tags marked The Career Pause to read more, or contact me to arrange a no-strings chat to find out if coaching is right for you.