Conduct a scan of your life to determine what you value most and how your career choices support them or contradict them.
- Have you ever stopped to think about what you value most in your life right now? What about what you might value for the next few years? It's not uncommon to fantasize about grand career visions whether it be working for a popular brand, having a prestigious job title or making a big salary. Sometimes we get caught up in the prestige of a role or company and we forget to ask ourselves what personal needs these goals will fulfill. It's like that saying, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
Taking the time to get clear about what it is you truly want and need in your life will help you create an authentic career vision. Using part three of the Career Map worksheet found in the Exercise Files, you can start by answering the question, what core needs must my career meet? When you think about the next one to three years, what's most important to you? This question really comes down to what you need in your life and how you envision your career contributing to those needs.
Some values include security. These are things like our pay, benefits and job stability. Time, things like how much flexibility we want or even freedom from schedules. Self-fulfillment. These are more intrinsic like learning, personal growth, contributing to a larger purpose. They can also be extrinsic like your job title, prestige and authority. Relationships. Examples include the type of culture we want to work in, the amount of teamwork we prefer, workplace friendships or the desire to manage others.
And lastly, mobility. This refers to things like the amount of movement you might prefer or freedom from repetition. Using the categories provided, select the top two or three job values that are most important to you in the next one to three years. Although at first you might think all of them, it's important to prioritize so you can create an actionable career vision. Sometimes the best way to answer this question is to think about what you're missing in your current work situation.
Are you looking for more personal fulfillment, a more stable environment, more opportunity to advance or perhaps more money or benefits to support a growing family? It's also important to be honest with yourself about what motivates you and what types of environments are best suited for you. If you're not honest about what you value most, your career vision will be difficult to achieve. I've coached many people who after doing this activity realize that the reason they're so unhappy in their current career is that they're not being true to what they really want.
For example, some people realize that they work for a company or are in a role that offers them great compensation but they don't feel like they're contributing to a larger purpose. Without identifying their values, they made career decisions based on job titles and bonus opportunities. While these are great things, if a core value of yours is in conflict with your career choices, this can leave you feeling unfulfilled and frustrated. It's also important to understand that it's difficult to meet all of your needs throughout your entire career.
Sometimes, you have to make trade-offs to grow. Also, when it comes to values, they'll change throughout your life. For example, when people have children, they may need to reevaluate what's most important to them. Often, people find that their values have shifted but they're still making career decisions based on an outdated definition of success. When creating a career vision, it's important to not only think about what you might want in the future but also consider what you value right now.
- How the workplace has changed
- Creating a career vision
- Creating short- and long-term goals
- Mobilizing: Identifying resources, mentors, and your online brand