Here's how you can shape your career journey
Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and wealth. It’s about finding your authentic self.
In a world where jobs have become inevitably dynamic in nature, some of the long-held ideas of a ‘dream’ job are no longer accurate. The technological revolution has changed the world as we see it, and opened the world to newer possibilities. This has given rise to many jobs which may not have even existed a few years ago. 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.
Perfection is an odd goal in making career choices. We learn not to limit ourselves to perfect ‘traffic free’ drive to work, perfect co-workers, bosses, friends or partners, so why are we obsessed with the idea of a job that will fulfill all our expectations? It’s not just about picking out a ‘perfect job’. Sometimes a less – than - perfect job can propel your career forward. The most important aspect here is to understand your own self, your career aspirations and aspire for a role which can help you learn the skills and competencies required to achieve the goal. As you continue to learn, your next steps will evolve, and you will constantly move towards experiences which help you channel your talent and potential for creating an impact.
As it’s rightly said, the journey substantiates our growth and not the destination. To make your journey purposeful, seek these experiences which help you learn, channel your passion and find a sense of purpose across your career journey
Don’t aim for a job, Aim for a career
Planning your future and your career can seem daunting, and sometimes you just don’t know where to start. However, you don’t need to have complete clarity or a destination as you think about your career. Aim for a job that suits your strengths, helps you learn, pushes out of your comfort zone to some extent, and caters to your areas of interest. To find this, it is absolutely essential to understand the roles you apply for and whether it meets at least some of your expectations.
Someone once told me that career is not a sprint, but a marathon. Patience is the key so do not strive to get there faster and lose out on the learning. In the attempt to try various roles, it’s easy to forget taking time to understand and learn. In any new role, learning curve rapidly increases in the beginning, soon followed by a saturation phase when you will reach the plateau. Give time to soak in the experience before chasing the next one. Ultimately, the goal should be to maximize learning from any role you take up, before jumping onto the next one. As you move forward and build your experiences, you might also realize that your destination might change, and you discover new career paths which you did not consider earlier.
Learn – Unlearn – Relearn
In today’s disruptive world, you also need to constantly learn, unlearn and re-learn. Having the right qualification certainly helps open doors, But does not define success or failure. If you do not have the ‘right’ qualification, the opportunity may not be readily available – this is the reality. However, you should not be disheartened, but find a way - try to start small and take those experiences as stepping stones which prepare you for the aspired job. Try a stretch project, training, a certification or an internship in your area of interest, to also get a realistic preview of whether it meets your expectations or not.
We all are unique as we bring different perspectives to the table. We must recognize that no one has our exact style, experiences, and knowledge, which has led us to the path we are on. We must also learn to identify the attitudes and behaviours that hold us back, and how to overcome those.
Having a clear vision and focus on developing yourself is certain to be fruitful. you must see failures as building blocks, to help you learn from your mistakes. You shouldn’t shy away from seeking help from your mentors, coaches or trusted peers who can help show you the mirror, challenge you and guide you to be a better version of ourselves.
Role of Networks
It’s not the time taken, but the level of preparation required to own the role better. You must identify experts outside our organization; the best in your field, and not just in your company. These conversations will provide insights into creating your personal experience map. Each workplace has its own culture and varies in how things are done, what is valued, and how people work together. Networks certainly play an important role in helping you get the right information or making the right connections. You must reach out to the experienced professionals, learn from their growth curve and seek insights into the successes and failures along the away.
Ask yourself the ‘W’ questions
While research and reflection are important, it’s the learning that you put into practice that help to strengthen the knowledge and expertise. Hence, asking yourself the right questions is imperative:
- Why are you looking for a new job? – this is a key question to ask yourself. A lot of times what you may be looking for may be possible in your current job or organization.
- What should the new opportunity bring? – what are the key criteria for the new job, how does this match your ambition and what is the learning this role will provide you.
- When – Is now the right time to look for a new job?
Where would I want to work? – what matters to you - a big role in a small organization or a small role in a big organization, the kind of culture you would thrive in and practical realities such as the physical location, environment etc.
Do your research
It’s important to understand the role you’re applying for and whether it meets your expectations. You need to feel confident to ask questions about the new role and organization. It is as much about you finding the right culture where you believe you can thrive, as it is about the interviewers assessing you for your skills and capabilities.
Rejection is OK
You may apply for a lot of roles but may not get the job you need in the first attempt. You should not be disheartened by rejection, rather take feedback and continue to learn and invest in yourself. These rejections will help you understand what you need to improve in yourself, which you need to take in positively and keep moving forward. There is no feedback fallacy. It is all professional and it is all personal. Unlock self-reflection and growth and open the gate to change. As Ken Blanchard put it so brilliantly – “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”.
Given an unpredictable job market, rapidly-changing business models and emerging fields, enjoying your career journey is essential. Your sense of purpose will change over the course of your career, be open, curious and sometimes take the path opening up in front of you, even if it was not in your plan. The best surprises and breath-taking sceneries when you are trekking lie on the undiscovered paths. A career is like a journey, with no final destination – it is the experiences you gather, learning you gain, and people who you take along matters!