Define Your Unique Career Hole
This is a follow-up from my post, Are You a Square Peg Trying to Fill a Round Hole?
When I re-posted this to LinkedIn Publisher last week, I got so many interesting responses. The two most common responses were:
- I am not a square but a triangle, hexagon, star, etc.
- What do I do about being a square peg?
Let me show you the process through which I take square pegs to find their unique career hole.
Define Your Unique Career Hole
Another way to put this is: know thyself.
You cannot target your ideal working environment unless you know what it is. You cannot find your unique career hole if you cannot define it.
Can you clearly articulate what your ideal work environment looks like? For 99% of you, the answer is a resounding NO.
Reflect upon when you have been happy in 7 different areas during your career:
- Boss – When did you have a boss that you really liked? What made that person a good boss for you?
- Team – When did you have a really great team? What was the make-up of that team?
- Rewards – When did you feel valued at work? What made you feel valued?
- Structure – How much structure do you need at work, and who should create that structure?
- Variety – How much variety do you need within your day?
- Emotions – Do you need a supportive, emotional environment at work?
- Activity – How much activity do you need during your day?
You can download my career reflection worksheet to help with this.
Once you have clearly defined when things were really good in the past, go back to times when things were really bad. I use the Birkman Assessment with all of my clients to pick out situations that highlight what causes them to go into stress. Once we have identified those situations, we can determine how to avoid them.
Now, we can clearly identify the shape of your unique career hole. We can start the search!
Locating Your Unique Hole
The first step to locating your unique career hole is to define a set of open-ended questions. This list of questions will evolve over time. They might be as simple as:
- Will you tell me about your management style?
- How much freedom will I have in determining schedules?
- What does a typical workday look like at your company?
- How do you make your employees feel valued?
Develop a set of questions for each of the 7 areas above.
The next step is to target companies within your industry or profession that can hire you. You will dutifully use your questions to determine which companies have a unique career hole that matches your requirements.
This is not easy! It takes a great deal of tenacity and patience.
For some of my square pegs, it means going to work for themselves.
For others, it means working for smaller organizations that are willing to create unique career holes for them.
Do you know the shape of your unique career hole? Are you ready to define it?
If this is of help please share it with other square pegs on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter?Marc Miller
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