Is there a career sweet spot?
I’ve thought a lot about my career decisions, and a few months ago while in a “what should I do with my life” moment, I was given a useful exercise that allowed me to assess my priorities, or at least get ready to make my next move (including taking on new projects or direction within my current company). I found the exercise helpful and I want to share it with others.
Here are the steps to help you prepare for “what’s next”:
- Reflect over and write down every job that you’ve ever had, from being a paper boy, to burger flipper, babysitter and/or any internships that you have completed.
- Write down what you liked and what you didn’t like about each job. Try to go beyond facts like the compensation, and think more about the situations and responsibilities. It’s important to write it down and not just think about it.
- Read your entire list over and search for patterns. Find patterns in what you liked about situations: the work atmosphere, organizational structure, your colleagues, the challenges, the opportunities, etc. Then find patterns in what you didn’t like: certain routines, the hours, organizational structure, lack of opportunity, etc.
Now ask yourself these questions:
- What are my goals?
- What factors drive me?
- How can I make sure my motivating factors work towards my goals?
This exercise has helped me understand my motivating factors. In the past, I always thought that I was driven by competition— I always wanted to excel and be the best I could be.
However, when I looked at the patterns on my list, I discovered that I wasn’t just driven by winning; I was driven more by responsibility. My goal was to be in a position that allowed me to create programs from the ground up.
After understanding that taking on responsibility is my motivating factor, I’ve sought work that allows me to lead and create.
Do you have an interesting exercise or way of figuring out what your next career move is that you’d like to share?
Peter Spellman helps people discover and develop their next calling through online courses and coaching. Find him at nextcalling.org