How Do I Ensure My Next Career Role Is The Right One For Me?
What are you looking for in your next position? It’s a question you may well have heard in a job interview. Perhaps more than once. It seems a fairly innocuous question, with straightforward answers for most. Constructive environment, room for progression, good pay, easy commute. Important factors to be sure, but not necessarily definitive.
We spend a third of our lives at work, but it is so often perceived as little more than a necessary evil. A means to the end of enjoying the rest of our time. A career should be so much more, it should inspire and drive us. It should inform other aspects of our lives and blend with it as a consistent whole. That oft-repeated phrase, ‘Work-Life Balance’ creates a binary. An unnecessary wedge between fulfilment and the means by which we live. What makes for fulfilling work though? That depends on you. If you’re looking ahead to your next role, you need to do a spot of self-examination.
He who controls the past, controls the future. Look back at what you’ve achieved, what those achievements meant to you and how they’ve lead you to where you are today. It’s easy to whitewash the past, to look back in a haze of nostalgia and see only the good. From comfort can come repetition and stagnation. When taking the next step in your working life, you should be going over the jobs of yesteryear with a fine tooth comb. Examine not only what you found fulfilling but why if fulfilled you. Wonder, would the same thing fulfill you today? A particular project that won the affection of your peers, or something you did that went against the grain because you believed in your gut. Whatever it is, use it. Use your past to light the way to your future, but be aware of how you have changed. Be true to who you are in the moment.
Look at where you are in life, and what kind of person you’ve become. How do you feel at the start of the workday? Do you seek the routine or are you more on the capricious side? For some work is a task, a set of objectives and responsibilities. A mission with a defined end. If you see work with this sort of straightforward clarity, then look for a position that can fulfill that need. One that can be compartmentalised, where you can define your achievements clearly and check them off regularly. If you find fulfillment in a more freeform and creative environment, apply that creative mindset to your search for a new role. The world is becoming more and more accommodating to self-starts and personal passions. You don’t have to find a role any more, you can create your own if you have the motivation.
It may sound as if I’m throwing material wealth and more traditional employment under the bus in favour of vague emotionally gratifying work but that’s not my intention. As I said, it depends on you. What I think is important is finding how you can combine the more quantifiable aspects of your working life: the pay, the location, the industry. With your lifestyle and personality on a more universal scale. If you’re someone who is sure that personal gratification lies at the top of a pile of cash that would make Scrooge McDuck blush, then go for it! But you should examine that want, and the means by which you hope to achieve it.
Humans are varied and disparate, our routes to happiness are divergent and personal, but I think we hold a communal desire for progression and purpose. Life can throw us some curveballs, and sometimes the ways we live and make our living aren’t up to us, but up to circumstance. If you’re in the position to decide your next role, in a position to search and try new things. Then you are in a unique and powerful position that shouldn’t be taken for granted. It shouldn’t be a matter of asking whether you want to work hard or not, it should be about how you can be happy working hard. A role will be right for you if you see yourself in its form and function. Working hard is not the universal means to success, but working hard on something you have a passion for will make for a life with greater harmony. One where work and life are not two distinct entities, but are reciprocal. A balance wherein you have the power to define your work as much as it has the power to define you.
Labor Omnia Vincit, Work Conquers All. An old, stubborn phrase. When looking at your next role, it is important to recognise how hard you can work it, but also how that hard work informs who you are. Work doesn’t have to conquer you, and you don’t have to conquer it. Make your next role one you can work with. Remember there is always someone who can help you work it out, Search for a career coach today.