Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Monday, 26 January 2009
Friday, 23 January 2009
It is a great compliment to be told, "You know what you are doing".
This simple statement is a real confidence booster. It's also a pleasure to say about someone else too.
"You know what you are doing" can be praise for a single piece of good work. It can also be said about an individual's attitude & professional skill as a whole. High praise indeed when that is the case!
["Of course there is enough light for me to photograph this lunar eclipse, I know what I am doing"]
To know what we are doing also has an interesting meaning if we apply it to our careers. Not everyone can think about their career and say in all truth, "I know what I am doing".
In fact, it is probably a minority who really know what they are doing with their career.
[Don't agree? Try these simple questions as a test: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?, What do you see as your strengths & would others agree with you?, What would you like to do more of in the future?, Who are the people with a long-term interest in your career?, How do you define success in your career? & What beliefs define your relationship with work?]
If you know what you are doing, the above questions should be familiar. That doesn't mean you'll have all the answers but the more time you spend on them, the more you will learn about what you are doing.
One day you may even be the talk of your friends and co-workers, "There she goes. She knows what she is doing" (N.B. Feel free to replace 'She' with 'He' if you are that way inclined).
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Monday, 19 January 2009
Friday, 16 January 2009
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul." Grouch Marx said, "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?"
Career management without belief is like work without a pay-check. Everything seems OK, then you find out something very important is missing.
If a surprise like not being paid hits us, we would ask ourselves, “What did we work for?”
When unsure about our career beliefs, the time will come to ask the same question.“What did we work for?”
[Little did they know but Roger and Deborah’s 8 hours of fish-minding was to go unpaid]
So, how can we find out more about the beliefs that relate our individual careers? One way to get started is to look more closely at our values, talents and goals. Exploring what is important, understanding our strengths and confirming what keeps us going, helps to clarify the beliefs that define personal success.
With awareness of your career beliefs - and security in the method that you used to arrive at them - your career and your relationship with work takes on the potential to deliver satisfaction and fulfilment. Turning career belief into career reality.
Enjoy your weekend!
Here are some related links on career management, belief and personal success:
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Esteem, more specifically self-esteem: What is it? What do most people mean when they say it? What happens when it is low, high or somewhere in-between? How does self-esteem affect our career choices and decision-making? How is self-esteem linked to this gratuitous image of spectacular scenery?
Apart from the last question, this is an interesting topic to explore. Dictionary.com defines self-esteem as "a realistic respect for or favourable impression of oneself." Cambridge Dictionaries Online calls self-esteem, "
It is rare to hear every-day stories of high self-esteem. Low self-esteem is far more commonly discussed. So, why is self-esteem even worth exploring on a career management blog?
One reason is that low self-esteem undermines career management activity. For example, an unfavourable impression of yourself is an obstacle to opportunity. It can be even more challenging when you are competing for jobs with people who possess high self-esteem - a very favourable impression of themselves and their abilities, regardless of whether it is well founded or not. [This picture shows someone with a hangdog expression, often a give-away of low self-esteem]
The link between self-esteem and career management is also worth exploring because understanding your individual relationship with work can help to regulate self-esteem and move it up or down to a more appropriate level. Understanding what we want from our relationship with work gives us the confidence to make better choices and creates the potential for work to be both successful and fulfilling at the same time.
But, confidence in career decision-making can only take root if you convince yourself first. Convincing yourself creates belief and confidence in what you are doing and - as we discovered from the dictionary definitions above - belief and confidence contribute to self-esteem.
Beliefs are especially valuable when they can be tested and found to be stable. One way to form such stable beliefs - at least in the context of our individual careers - is by exploring our values, talents and goals. If you can begin to understand what is important to you, what you are good at and what keeps you going, confidence in your ability to make good career choices will grow.
The link between self-esteem and self-leadership also makes an interesting study. Self-leadership allows us to define career success for ourselves. Self-esteem gives us something to support our individual choices with. The connection between healthy self-esteem and successful self-leadership will be explored further on this blog in the future because it exists in too many examples of best-in-class career management to ignore!
As always, your comments and emails on career-related subjects are welcomed!
Here are some links to posts on belief, career decision-making and understanding our values, talents and goals:
Monday, 12 January 2009
Friday, 9 January 2009
Genuine disasters aside there are few things worse than being unhappy with work. You are miserable, your colleagues suffer - and when things get really difficult - friends and family join the misery too. Dealing with work and career related problems is nothing new but now more than ever, you can do something about it.
In the past, when people were unhappy with work, they mostly did one of 2 things: Complain or Look for another job. In fact, career management for the working majority meant little more than these two actions. As you can see from this picture, it all got too much to take for this little employee and she jumped out the office window, never to return.
Thankfully, we are not all hamsters in our wheels and we have more options. One of the best times to explore our options - and look more closely at career management - is when things aren’t going too well. In other words, if you are unhappy with work, ask yourself why: Is something permanently broken? Is your boss totally unreasonable/negligent or might you feel differently next week? When did you last feel like this? What action did you take at that time? Did it help in the longer-term? Is the thing you most want to change personal, professional or the environment you are in?: and so on.
Being unhappy with work is also one of the best times to actively study your career. With the help of your values, talents and goals you can remind yourself what is important to you, where your strengths lie and what keeps you going. These are three simple questions to help anyone build or rebuild their notion of personal success. To define what success looks like for our individual careers*.
So if you are feeling a little low about work or your career, explore your 3rd option and ask yourself why. In the worst possible case, if you do end up complaining or looking for a new job, you will have more to back up your story either way!
*To see more about personal success and values, talents and goals try these links or leave a comment/send me an email with your questions.
Thursday, 8 January 2009
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Career-related articles usually fall into one or more of the following categories:
1. Comforting [Everything will be OK]
2. Warning [Do this now, or else!]
3. Avoiding [Your disappointment will soon pass]
4. Resolving [Useful insight on personal career success]
Excellent career articles are written every day. The next time you are reading one, see if its core message fits with any of the four categories above. As you are reading, you might also ask yourself how helpful the advice and scenarios are. Numerous articles separate individual issues from career management activity*.
This blog is for and about people looking to resolve career issues and define their own personal success over time. Articles on this blog argue the case for active, rigourous career management in pursuit of personal career success.
If any of the above is interesting to you, please visit us again. You might even wish to share an opinion or contribute a story. This is Web2.0 after all :)
[*Career Management should always be present as it provides the context for decision-making and issue resolution. When it is missing, what may seem like a win can have a negative impact in the future. Advice on answering interview questions is a good example of this. Without a wider career management context you might pass the interview but how do you know you are interviewing for the right job? See these posts on this tricky interview question as an example, What would you like to be doing 5 years from now?, What would you like to be doing 5 years from now? - Revisited]
Monday, 5 January 2009
Bruce Dickinson has an interesting CV. He is probably best known as the lead singer of Iron Maiden. Later in his career he became a commercial airline pilot. Bruce’s career is full of achievement to the outside observer but Bruce Dickinson’s career is also highly successful from a modern career management perspective and that is why it is interesting to us here.
No-one else created a career path for Bruce Dickinson. It is unlikely that Bruce’s parents (careers teachers or any other advisors/mentors) mapped him out a dual career in music and piloting commercial jets.
Little Bruce (and Bigger Bruce as he got older) wasn’t following anyone else's notion of success as he made important decisions throughout his career.
'Heavy-metal-rock-star-to-commercial-airline-pilot' is the change in Bruce’s career that is most interesting and revealing to any of us making career decisions of our own.
If he wanted to make changes, Bruce (older, wiser and richer) could have done almost anything he wanted for the rest of his career. But with almost unlimited choice in front of him, Bruce chose to train as a commercial airline pilot. He chose this long, expensive, rigourous and technically demanding path because it was the change in career direction that best described personal success for him. For Bruce, no other career had the same potential for reward, fulfilment and satisfaction.
Bruce Dickinson’s example may seem an odd choice for a career case study. Isn’t it all too easy for millionaires to change careers on a whim? Regardless of risk or cost or time?
This may be true but Bruce’s career is relevant because you do not need money to follow his example and use your own choices to define career success more personally.
We could speculate about what was behind the decisions Bruce made but it is probably more productive for each of us to learn from his example and try to define personal career success through the choices we make. At important moments our individual values, talents and goals [often mentioned previously on this blog] can guide us along the way.
For the record, I am not an Iron Maiden fan, nor am I connected to the airline industry but - after learning about his example recently - I am a fan of Bruce Dickinson’s career decision-making and his shining example of defining personal success.
My hope is that Bruce's example is one that translates well to the career choices you might be facing now or may face at some time in the future. As always, I will only find out if you let me know what you think via email or comment!