Grow Your Career

Lately I’ve been coaching mid-career professionals on how to find their next best career move. I’m hearing people want their job to be everything. On many levels, this makes sense… People spend the majority of their waking hours at work. Of course you’d want it to be fulfilling, challenging and enriching on a multitude of dimensions. That said, you need to consider your ultimate goal and temper expectations. It’s unlikely that any one job will check 100% of your metaphorical boxes. Consider the following before your next best career move:

GOAL: Identify your 5-year goal. Is it to manage a team but currently you don’t have any direct reports? What is the position that will get you managing others? Think about your next role as a stepping stone to your mid-term goal.

SKILLS: What transferable skills do you enjoy using most every day? Is it organizing, creating, strategizing, or analyzing? Your job is largely comprised of using these skills on a day-to-day basis. You need to like what you do first and foremost. Think about it, you could work for your dream company, but if the function of your job is something you don’t enjoy, you won’t be fulfilled.

PURPOSE: What purpose are you fighting for? These are the companies you’ll want to target. Do you love making a social impact, working for a Fortune 500 increasing profits, supporting a wellness initiative, amplifying technology innovations, or supporting animal welfare? Let your purpose guide your next career change as a tertiary decision.

Some will read this and say, “Shouldn’t you start with your purpose!?” Nope. Not in the context of growing your career. If you’re already self-actualized and say for example, you love animals – sure, changing litter boxes and cleaning kitties in need of adoption might be ok for you. BUT, if you’re building a resume, consider your mid-term goal first, the duties of the role second and then your purpose.

So, what do you do if your goal and skills are aligned but the purpose isn’t ideal with your next career move? Supplement with volunteerism in support of your purpose. In the above example, the kitty volunteer was me. I wasn’t in a role where my ultimate purpose was being honored so I volunteered with animals for nearly two years to fulfill that part of my personal journey.

Your life is multidimensional. Be realistic with the dimensions that can be fulfilled by your career. For the components that cannot, find other ways to honor yourself.