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Where are you going with your career?

Looking back on my own career I had no grand plan.  In fact it faltered at the first hurdle, when I dropped out of uni after the first year.  All I knew was that I wanted to speak French every day in my work and that I wanted to be 'in charge'!

I soon found that speaking French every day was not enough, when I got a job doing that, which I hated.  My second job, with a publisher, didn't have enough French, but I loved the free books.  And my third job built on the first two and I ended up staying with the company for 15 years.  I had started to find out what I did and didn't like and want from my working life.  I got to be 'in charge' at least in a small way and that provided a platform for my career to take off.  I spoke French every working day for those 15 years and I loved it.  I loved working with people from different countries and cultures.  However, I didn't realise that until it was no longer part of my life. 

But in the meanwhile, purely by chance, I had discovered and moved into HR (or Personnel as it was known in those days).  There were aspects of that work that I loved and also lots that I didn't.

Looking back there was lots of hard work, fun, wonderful inspiring people (and also those who sucked the life out of me); a lot of twists and turns, high and low points, stress, elation, boredom, frustration, some very unhappy periods (mainly when I was in the most highly paid jobs), huge amounts of learning and some fantastic opportunities (in two instances at the 'wrong' time but I took them anyway and never regretted it).  Yet to quote the old cliche, I wouldn't be where I am today without having followed that path. 

Along the way I learned it's essential to know yourself - what's important to you, what you are good at, what your strengths are, what you enjoy doing, what people appreciate about working with you.

My work has always been important to me - a critical part of my identity.  Again I didn't realise that until it was not there.  I spent almost 2 years being a full time mum and it was not for me (my daughters would agree - it wasn't fun for them either!)

What I have wanted from my work has changed over time and at different stages of my life and career, but there have always been some constants.  The French was lost along the way for example, whilst the definition of being 'in charge' has changed - from managing a team and being head of a large function to running my own business. 

I echo these sentiments from Steve Jobs:

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

So why am I telling you this? 

We spend a huge proportion of our life at work.  We spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our nearest and dearest - that's why so many people meet their life partner at work.

To quote Steve Jobs again:

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven't found it yet, keep looking.  Don't settle.  As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."

When I was doing my own 'great work' it never felt like work.  As Confucius says "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life."

I am struck by the frequency with which I meet people early on in their career who:

- are not enjoying what they do

- feel that life happens at the weekend and that Monday to Friday is just a means to an end

- do not feel fulfilled by their work.

Yet they don't seem to know how to go about finding something different, appear overwhelmed by the prospect or don't have the energy to get themselves out of the rut they feel they're in. 

Does this resonate with you?  

I am passionate about supporting you to get more out of your working life.   This involves raising your self awareness, finding your passion, researching future career options as well as making the best of your current situation whilst preparing you for the work you've dreamed about.

If that appeals to you, get in touch to apply for a complimentary exploratory conversation.




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