Of all the people you know, who’s the one person who knows you best? You. Oh sure you might be inclined to say it’s your partner and yes, I’ll admit my wife knows me exceedingly well given our 37 plus years of marriage. Yet, there are many times in a day when I’m in the company of me, myself and I. At work, in the garden, reading a book, playing the guitar or hey, writing this piece, it’s only me and my thoughts are mine alone.
So you know yourself; your likes and dislikes, the things that inspire, confuse, excite, demoralize, stress and stimulate you. Some people know some of these things about you no doubt, but the only one who knows all of these things about you is you.
I’ve said many times that a terrific thing to undertake is to do an inventory of your strengths, areas to improve, skills, values, morals, motivations, fears, personal characteristics and qualities. If you feel you just, ‘intrinsically know’ all these things, I won’t argue the point. However, if you can’t verbalize your workplace values, define success and measure where you are in relation to it, name 20 of your top skills and provide if asked, demonstrated proof of those skills, you might want to consider getting around to formally documenting these things. But that’s not my point I wish to share here.
What I do want to talk about is not just figuring out what role(s) you want in this life you’re living, but with whom do you want to share your gifts? So if you know you want to be an Electrician, that’s wonderful! However, how much thought do you put into the organization you want to be employed by? If you’re simply going online and applying to a job because the job title matches what you want, that’s not the best way to maximize the odds of being happy in the job should you land there. And despite all the great advice from many Job Coaches and Employment Counsellor’s, many still research the job but not the employer.
That’s kind of like saying, “I want to be married” without putting a great deal of thought into the person you’re going to be with. Come to think of it, I may have inadvertantlly and unintentionally just stumbled on to why we have such high divorce rates. Could be too many people who want to get married rush into things without taking the time to, ‘research’ and get to know their potential life partner. Of course, there are people who figure marriage is a two to three year commitment and then move on just like some people do with jobs.
3 things are needed to be ultimately happy career-wise; a job you love, having the skills and expertise to do it well and thirdly, the pay that makes the job one you can afford to work at as it fulfills your financial needs. That first one though – a job you love – isn’t only the role but includes the organization with whom you partner.
Some people make the mistake of believing they have the right job, then finding out that it’s not what they thought it was all about, they change careers and choose something new. Sadly, I’ve often found that the peson knew themselves well enough to pick the right job or career, but they make the mistake of believing that one bad experience with one employer was representative of all other simililar job titles with other employers.
You may find for example that one company instructs all their Electricians to get in and get out asap when on a job in order to maximize the number of jobs they bill for in a day. This might leave you the front-line employee and Electrician running from job to job feeling very little satisfaction. On the other hand, another company might want their employees to complete work while encouraging their Electricians to interact with customers and explain what they are doing, how to avoid future overloads and promote electrical safety in the home or workplace. Both strategies could make the company the same funds. One billing for 8 jobs but less time with each customer and the other billing for 5 jobs but for more time with each.
As the Electrician, you might find yourself with a preference for one environment or what we call workplace culture. It’s not that the job or career was wrong, it’s possibly the job or career was a good fit but the employer wasn’t. Two different ways of operating and two different types of people will fit. One is task-focused employee and the other a mixture of task and desire to educate using their people skills.
Okay so what about you? Are you in the right job but perhaps working in the wrong environment? Considering the length of years you have left to work, you’ve got to calculate the cost of remaining a round peg in a square hole, or finding a round hole that fits what you’re after. Again, get the job you’re great at, that pays well, and that you love, and you win! You’re happiness hangs in the balance.