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What Really Matters At Work? The 5 Minute Career Coach February 2011 Update
February 15, 2011

Helping Career Changers Around The World

February 2011 Update


What really matters to you in your work?

I was talking to a client this week who is coming to the end of a fixed term contract. She has decided that the time is right to change her career direction as she has not been happy in her current role for some time.

She has already rushed off an application for a new job which is related to her current role but probably much more practical and less desk orientated.

In the same session, she pulled out a selection of job ads she had picked up from online job boards and situations vacant columns and wanted to discuss which of these she should apply for too.

The trap

She was a perfect example of the trap that many career changers fall into. She was acting in a hurry and had got her mind fixed on certain job titles and roles and this was constraining her thinking to what she already knew.

But as I read in an online forum recently:

'we cannot choose what we do not know'

If you are looking for a new career direction, you need to start by expanding what you know and that means what you know about yourself as well as about what is out there in the world.

I always encourage clients to begin by thinking as broadly as possible, to be open minded, curious and playful with ideas and options. So what do career changers need to discover about themselves?

Getting below the surface

The question that helps to get below the surface of what makes a career 'right' for you or not is 'What is important to you in your work? What do you want to get out of it?'

This question encourages you to think past job titles and get at the underlying benefits and satisfactions you would like to gain from work. We all get returns from our jobs that go beyond the money, but we rarely stop to identify them. Yet, when we are not getting these things, the job leaves us feeling dissatisfied but we may not really know why.

If we bring these personal priorities to light then we can use them as a benchmark to evaluate future career ideas so that the choices we make will feel right not just in concrete terms but also at the more fundamental level of the things we really value.

So what really matters to you in your work?

  • Status

  • Creativity

  • Challenge

  • Making a difference

  • Responsibility

  • Helping people

  • Having an influence

  • Independence

  • Something else...?

These are just a few ideas but there are many more. Take a look at the list of values on the How To Change Careers website to give you some more food for thought.

And you will also find some exercises to help you pin down your own personal priorities at work.

So now, when thinking of new career ideas, you can use the list of values you have identified to check whether the job will feel right for you.

If the new area of work you decide to go into is aligned with the values that are important to you, then you are well on the way to making a career change that will be a success.

And just for fun...

Want to earn a fiver?

The internet does it again. Want to take advantage of the global market? I spotted this website online recently

You can earn $5 for doing...well, anything! You post your offer and wait for someone to take it up. What skills, knowledge, ideas have you got to share. $5 isn’t much, but it could snowball!

And it works both ways. If you want something done for a fiver, you can post your request too.

Have fun!

With best wishes

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