It’s that time of year again, how did that happen? The year is drawing to a close, advent calendars at the ready, it’s time to evaluate how you stack up against your career plan, and start thinking about plans for next year. The long December break is the perfect time to do some serious reflection and evaluation.
Take time out from the rough and tumble of the daily treadmill to mull over what you want from an ideal and fulfilling career. Focus on the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Ensure that you are moving in a direction aligned with your values and strengths.
Time for a career MOT. Use a learning perspective and think of yourself as a “skills and knowledge investor” and start by mulling over your values and strengths.
Work values are important
Workplaces are becoming ever more collaborative, and increasingly we look not just for jobs, but for work environments which display values and culture that align with our own.
Establishing and evaluating work values may help you focus and choose the environment and role that are the best fit for you. Work values are similar to the theory of career anchors propounded by Dr Edgar Schein, one of the founders of modern organisational psychology. He suggests that every one of us approaches our work with a certain set of priority and values that he calls Career Anchors.
Strengths are part of your personal brand
At 10Eighty we favour a focus on strengths because it enables a person to feel well equipped and confident about their abilities. Strengths are “underlying qualities that energise us, contribute to our personal growth and lead to peak performance” (Brewerton & Brook, Strengths Partnership 2010). We advocate working on your strengths as it can have a significant impact on your career and personal growth. Use your strengths to optimise performance and increase your engagement and productivity at work, career fulfilment and job satisfaction.
Research shows that using our strengths at work is more likely to lead to positive performance outcomes. In career terms it is your knowledge, awareness and acceptance of strengths (and skills) and how to make effective and appropriate use of them that is important for success at work rather than being a particular ‘match’ for skills or qualifications for a given role.
Positivity and productivity
Happy people tend to be successful at work, but it seems it’s not because your success causes you to be happy, in fact it’s your being happy which tends to cause success. Large scale research by the University of California found that being happy leads to higher income, greater productivity and quality of work, more satisfying and longer marriages, more friends, stronger social support, and richer social interactions, more activity, energy and better physical health.
Strengths are what energise us, we enjoy using them and learn quickly where and when we can put them into action. Studies show that people who felt they were using their strengths have more positive emotion, greater vitality and self-esteem, compared with people who did not feel they used theirs.
Father Christmas won’t be bringing a new career for you but you can take positive and determined steps to move your career in the right direction. In other words, make the most of the networking opportunities presented by the holiday season. Don’t under-estimate the positivity and goodwill engendered by the festive celebrations, take advantage of the holiday spirit when and schedule some interviews, your networking contacts may well be more willing to meet up as work slows down for the festive break.