Is career satisfaction a myth? Is it really possible for a person to achieve career satisfaction in an economically challenged world? Is career satisfaction directly tied up to financial abundance?

Different people have different opinions when it comes to what will give them complete career satisfaction. Some workers may say they want a relaxed work environment; some may want to have better relationships with their bosses and colleagues; while most will answer, without much thought, that they want high paying careers.

While all of these are true, achieving career satisfaction is truly dependent on one’s personal core values. Our personal core values are important in the way we act and decide on things, and speak a lot on how we relate with colleagues and clients. The core values we possess are reflected in the way we interact with the people around us, and the way we handle situations. Understanding our core values will result in better work decisions, better relationships and a successful career.

Core Values Index bannerAchieving career fulfilment may seem like a dream but is not impossible. A career coach can help you as you go through the process of self realisation. He or she can also assist you in making career decisions so you can create a more meaningful career. Whilst having a career coach by your side, you will benefit greatly from getting to know yourself better….the real you that is often hidden beneath layers of learned behaviours but is still powerfully directing the way you react to situation and interact with others.

The Core Values Index is an outstanding human assessment which offers accurate results describing one’s innate, unchanging nature. Unlike other personality tests, the CVI offers a 94 percent repeat-score reliability. It is easy to use and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. People who utilise the Core Values Index enjoy better work outcomes and improved level of career satisfaction. You are solely responsible for your own career satisfaction.

Understanding your personal core values is the key to fulfilling long term career satisfaction. Contact Clarity Career Management now to learn more about the Core Values Index and how you can benefit from it.

What do you really want to be?

There are times when the only thing that matters regarding your career is to get a job that pays some money so you can meet your financial commitments.  That’s a difficult time, usually brought on by a combination of unfortunate circumstances.  It’s a time for knuckling down and turning around your situation, and frankly at times like that any job will do if it meets your immediate needs.

But usually when you are looking at a change of career direction any job will NOT do.  A change is a chance to steer your career in the way you want it and to manage it effectively to meet your ongoing career fulfilment.  That’s a very different attitude from “That’ll do”.

What many people struggle with is how to work out what it is that they want to do.  School leavers struggle with this question, but it is not uncommon for people in the middle or later part of their career to feel the same way.  “I don’t enjoy my work but I don’t know what else to do” is a common phrase expressed by discontent workers.  Career decision making can seem so difficult and confusing.

If the thing that is holding you back is not knowing what you should be doing, there are a number of strategies you can use to get closer to your answer.  

Career decision making

Know yourself

Most of us don’t listen well enough to what our intuition is telling us.  To make wise long-term career decisions you need to know yourself well; not the superficial persona we often show to the world, but the real person who is deep within you.   Getting to know and understand yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself.  When you really know who you are you can answer the question “What do you REALLY want” because your inner voice, your intuition, will be leading you there.

Know your preferences

Undoubtedly you have  not enjoyed parts of each job that you have had.  But there are probably parts of the job that you enjoyed to some level, even if the things you enjoyed had nothing at all to do with the job itself!  Similarly in any work you have done, perhaps voluntary work, family commitments, or sporting club involvement, there will be things that you have enjoyed doing.  Think about what it was you enjoyed about those tasks. Do the same with the things you haven’t liked.  Already you are starting to develop your own personal criteria for the work that will satisfy you.

Know your culture

When you considered your preferences it is likely that you thought about the people you worked with, the style of management, the environment you were in and the culture of each workplace.  Each of these is a vital factor in how comfortable you feel about the work you are doing, and how much you enjoy your work life.  It’s quite common for people to love the actual work they do, or what their job could entail, but hate some of the environmental factors such as the management style.  Recognise the difference so you don’t throw away work you like when what you need is a change of environment.

Educate yourself

As you come to consciously recognise more aspects of yourself and your preferred way of working you will find that you start to think about what you can do with this newfound knowledge.   This is when you need to educate yourself to the many possibilities that are available to you.  Jobs exist now that didn’t exist just a few years ago so don’t stick with what you know, explore and stretch the boundaries of work related to your preferences.  Arm yourself with knowledge through attending expos, researching and talking to people who work in the fields of work that interest you.

Know when to ask for help

When you are stuck, or when you are ready to start moving forward in your career, the assistance of a career development professional can be an outstanding investment of time and money.  Just as you wouldn’t go to a lawyer without legal qualifications, to ensure that you get the best possible assistance in this area you should find a career development professional who has career-specific qualifications.  The Career Industry Council of Australia has a code of ethics and strict regulations for recognised career association members.  This is for your protection, so you know that a person who calls themselves a Career Counsellor or Career Coach is appropriately qualified to do so. 

Jenni Proctor 5/3/2011

Clarity Career Management

Career Clarity

I would like to share with you the most recent Australian Career Practitioner journal in which I have an article published on Pages 13-14.  The article explores the importance of Core Values in career decision making. You can read the article in the pdf version of the journal, or to read the content of the article reprinted below. 

To be…or to do…that is the question

Article by Jenni Proctor in ACP Magazine

Australian Career Practitioner March 2012 editionWhen adults speak to small children about their future they usually ask “What do you want to be when you grow up?” not “What do you want to do?” 

Children’s responses to this question often provide rich insights into their future.  They are in the process of learning to be themselves, and so see their ideal future through the lens of living out their full potential.  They seem to innately know what it is that matters to them.

Over several years of running a career education program in a primary school, I was always fascinated by the career dreams that children expressed. 

‘Fantasy’ is the word that is often associated with this stage of career choices, but it was fascinating to notice that behind their career preferences there was usually a deep message.  Many of the children knew who they really were at the core of their being.  Of course they may have expressed this in ways that sounded like ‘fantasy’ to the jaded adults around them, but they were expressing what they wanted to BE, not DO. Their responses were job titles, but those job titles, drawn from their narrow knowledge of the world of work, told a much deeper story. They wanted to be a helper or express creativity in some way.  They wanted to be knowledgeable and respected, or be in some position of power. They were aware that they wanted to be adventurous, or pursue an unusual career path.  These children were tapping into their inner understanding of themselves. Without any concept of ambition, and little knowledge of the world of work, they were expressing what it would take for them to experience fulfilment in their career.

Somewhere over the intervening years between childhood and adulthood we seem to lose those thoughts of ‘being’ and put the emphasis on ‘doing’. 

When I started working in my own private practice I was often surprised by clients who were unhappy, unmotivated, wanting to make a career change, yet on the surface seemed to be doing exactly what their skills and experience would indicate was a great career choice for them.  I felt great empathy as I had been in a similar situation before studying career development, and wondered what was ‘wrong’ with me because I felt the need to throw away a perfectly good job to make a complete change in my work life.  Therefore when I heard the same story repeatedly from clients I took special note of this, intrigued about the missing ingredient that led so many people to experience career dissatisfaction when, on the surface, they were working in a job which seemed a good match for them.

Initial career choices are traditionally based on interests and skills, with personality and experience gaining more significance as individuals refine their career path and develop their own specialities.  But it’s a very lucky person who also, right from the beginning of their career, is aware of their own core values, the factors that are deeply embedded in them. 

“We have, each one of us, an essential inner nature which is instinctive, intrinsic, given, natural, i.e. with an appreciable hereditary determinant, and which tends to strongly  persist….This inner core shows itself as natural inclinations, propensities or inner bent. That authentic selfhood can be defined in part by knowing what one is fit for and not fit for.” (Maslow, “Toward a Psychology of Being”)

At the 2011 CDAA Conference in Cairns Mark Savickas shared questions he uses to gain insight into his clients’ deepest needs.  One of the questions was “Who was your childhood hero?” From this seemingly trivial question came responses that reflected the essence of a person.  When individuals from the audience shared their responses it was clear that these stories evoked delight in being true to themselves.

It is that purest knowledge of who we really are, at the core of our being, which may hold the key to people having more success in making career choices which are satisfying for them.  We need to consider the unchanging nature of our clients, not the personality that they have adapted through a lifetime of interactions with others, but the deep personal needs that each person must satisfy to be truly content in their work. 

Understanding what you want to be may be the key to understanding how you can be true to yourself, and gain genuine fulfilment, through your work. 

The holy grail of recruitment is to hire exactly the right person for each position.  Yet as career practitioners we see the result of people being in jobs that just aren’t right for them.  The impact on individuals, on their families, on stress levels, work relationships, and on company profitability as a result of unhappy workers is immeasurable. 

The visual imagery of square pegs in round holes comes to mind.  There is nothing wrong with the square peg or the round hole; they just don’t match properly. You could take a business perspective and say that it is fortunate that recruiters often don’t get it right.  After all many of us make our living as a direct result of people not being happy with their work, or their workplace not being happy with them. 

Recruitment processes tend to be thorough, with emphasis on a great résumé, interview and often aptitude testing results.  So what goes wrong?  Often it’s not the skills or experience or even attitude of an individual that stops them from performing their role in an outstanding way.  If the work just doesn’t suit their personal sense of purpose, contribution or motivation they are unlikely to perform their role with excellence in the same way that they would if these factors were well matched.

Could it be that, to know what work will truly satisfy someone and will enable them to work at the peak of their abilities, we need to go right back to basics.  Who is that person at the core of their being, what really matters to them and what deep values do they hold?  Would this deeper understanding of individuals, beyond their experience or their outstanding résumé, assist companies with their workforce development and productivity?

Young children innately understand the essence of themselves and who they need to be to live a fulfilling life.  If we can assist our clients to strip back the layers that they have built up over life, to recognise who they are innately, then their career decisions can be based on what they want to be, not just what they want to do.