Posts Tagged “think”

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It’s pretty much a given that you’ll change careers at least a few times during your life. According to research, 35% of all U.S. workers have changed careers in the past three years while millennials average four positions before hitting 32).

With each new job comes the opportunity to build skills and expertise, which Peter Roper, Google’s Head of Mobile Brand Strategy, says is the most important priority when considering the responsibilities of new positions.

Roper advises that it’s best “to think about what skill sets you want to get at your next job,” rather than look at surface level features such as location and salary. When you think of each move as building on your prior experience, you’ll have a better chance choosing the positions that’ll grow your expertise.

And as Roper says, “You don’t have to have your career perfectly mapped out,” but it helps to think of each subsequent job as a building block, not as a blank page.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/a-much-smarter-way-to-think-about-your-next-career-move?ref=recently-published-0

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Have you ever set out a clear career plan with specific goals for yourself?

When I first started out in consulting, my plan was simple: Get a big raise. Get a promotion. Start getting bonuses. Then break six-figures. Finally score an even bigger promotion (with a really nice title).

Years later I had all of the above, and yet—I was miserable. It took me a while to figure out that my career milestones weren’t making me happy, and moreover, I had spent years chasing the wrong goals.

Ugh.

I’d love for that to not happen to you.

So let’s break it down, shall we?

1. Standard Milestone: Get Promoted Early

Have you ever started at an entry-level or mid-level position at a company, met a few people higher in the ranks, and then thought to yourself: “Wow, I’d love to have their jobs?”

At my first few big corporate jobs, I was obsessed with getting promoted. I felt like it was a small stretch to go from where I was to the next rung on the ladder, and that getting promoted would make me happy. I’d get paid more, I’d get recognition for my work, and I’d be a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

Who doesn’t want that?

Except—it didn’t make me happy. Stretched over a year, the raise didn’t make a significant impact in my daily life, and the work I was doing didn’t really change.

What I Wish I’d Focused on Instead

Figuring out what kind of work would help me begin to tap into my potential as a person (and even lead to some real happiness!). That first promotion is a rush, but instead of focusing just on that, I could’ve read more books, attended interesting events, developed a few more skills, and spent that time learning and growing my network inside and outside of my company so I’d have plenty of options at my fingertips, and mentors to help me grow.

2. Standard Milestone: Getting That Fancy Office

Have you ever had office envy? I 100% did in my first big corporate gig. Everyone had their own office, but I was stuck in an inside windowless cell, while my more senior co-workers had lovely views and beautiful desks.

I lusted after their offices.

I spent an embarrassing amount of time thinking about and campaigning to get one. I thought it would give me recognition, I thought I’d feel better about my job, and I thought my work day would be nicer. The office would save me!

I knew I needed to get promoted first, but I also knew that if I campaigned hard, I could sway my boss on which of the empty and lovely offices would be mine.

After less than a year, I finally got my fancy office—complete with a view of the river. I thought it would immediately confer recognition and gravitas to my career—I’d be taken seriously. I have a window!

But, it of course, did none of those things. And even more surprisingly—I was so lonely.

What I Wish I’d Focused on Instead

I was so caught up in the prestige of a fancy office, I lost sight of two milestones that are hugely important: working with people who motivate you and loving your workspace

When I changed jobs down the road, I ended up in a desk in the middle of 30 other people—and I loved it. The people around me motivated me to do better, entertained me when I needed a break, and made coming to work fun.

And I even liked my desk-in-the-middle-of-the room. Sure, it wasn’t fancy wood and didn’t have a view of the river, but it was way more comfortable and I felt good working there.

Both these things lead me to be a better leader and better version of myself—which is a way better milestone than the fake prestige of a fancy office. So think about that: Are you working with people who motivate and support you? And are you working in a space that allows you to feel comfortable and good at what you do?

3. Standard Milestone: Making a Certain Amount of Money per Year

After I changed jobs and got promoted a couple of times my new obsession became to break six figures in income before I hit age 30.

I felt like that salary would be an external recognition of how good I was at my job, that I was on the right path in my career, and that I was worth something. Obviously, they were paying me, right?

Yeah—are you seeing the theme here?

Chasing the money was a distraction from the fact that I didn’t really love my chosen career, and I couldn’t imagine doing it for the rest of my life. But, I kept telling myself that I needed a fancy lifestyle, and the money was an important piece of maintaining my makeup addiction (and therefore my happiness).

I feel into the trap of thinking that money is happiness, which we all know is so not the case. Not only is money not equal to happiness, but my focus on it also kept me stuck, because it made it easy to justify staying stuck in the wrong career.

What I Wish I’d Focused on Instead

I wish I had worried less about spending the money that I had (and making a certain figure) and more about the question: “Is this career fueling the life that I want?”

Sure, having some money is good! But if all you focus on is the money, it doesn’t lead to happiness. For me, the hard truth was that I was buying a lot of things I didn’t need because I wasn’t getting my happiness through work.

Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things. I’m a fan of shoes, and vacations, and being comfortable. But not if it comes 100% at the expense of myself and my career.

When I started my coaching practice I cut back on everything that was unnecessary, like vacations and trips to Nordstroms. And you know what was weird? I didn’t miss those things at all.

Why? Because the work kept me happy, and it allowed me flexibility, creativity, autonomy and freedom. Basically, it fueled the lifestyle I wanted, and that made all the difference.

To sum up: I think a better career milestone that a certain amount of money is asking yourself: “Do I love my life?” And then focus on the kind of work that helps you love all parts of your life.

4. Standard Milestone: Getting a High-Level Title Like Director or VP

I thought that I’d be happier if I had a really fancy title. Other people would instantly respect me, I’d obviously have achieved a certain level of success, yada yada. You’ve read this far, you know the drill!

But when I got the tapped to be made Director of my Business Unit, my internal monologue was just the sound of someone screaming.

Did I take the job? Of course! I thought I’d be crazy not to. Also, my business card would be even more stately!

But, after getting the title and shoving 400 new business cards into a corner, I found my soul died a little bit more each day. I had even more on my to-do list that I didn’t love. And, I felt like I was doing work I wasn’t even great at anymore—and that was pretty soul crushing.

Here’s the thing: A title is great, but not if it means you lose a piece of yourself or what you actually like to do.

What I Wish I’d Focused on Instead

One of the cool things about getting more experienced and recognized is the chance to increase your level of impact on the world.

Instead of chasing the title and being focused on a few words on a business card, think about: “What’s the next step to serve more people?” or “How can I make a bigger impact?” Or “What am I doing right now that helps the world in some way—big or small?”

Now I have one of the biggest titles around—that of CEO. But I honestly don’t even think about it, because what matters to me are the emails I get every week from someone in my community telling me how I helped them change their career (and change their lives!).

And that beats a fancy business card any day!

A lot of us look for career milestones that carry external recognition, like promotions or titles. But, if you aren’t happy on the inside, no title is going to solve that problem. Instead, try and map your milestones to things that bring you actual happiness, like doing work you love, working with people who support you, having a workspace or place that makes you feel good, having an impact (no matter how big or small), and really reaching your potential as a human being.

You are a pretty awesome person with tons to offer—now get out there and do it!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-career-milestones-you-think-will-make-you-happy-and-what-actually-will?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-2