"If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you do not have integrity, nothing else matters."

Knowing who you are, what you are, and why you do what you do is a fundamental base for life, yet so many people spend their lives not quite certain of these things.

To live your life with integrity in your career you need to value yourself enough to be consistent in the choices you make and focused on where you are going.

You sense these people when you meet them. They know what is important to them, they project a sense of self, and they are then able to share their gifts with other people.

People who live life with career integrity express their passions in their life in some form, whether that be the work they do, the reason for the work they do, or the way they help others through their work. Their intentional choices are an expression of their own values and through that their integrity shines.

So how can we encourage those we care about to make choices leading to career integrity?

  • Discuss the skills they love to use and the circumstances where they love to use the skills.
  • Consider the environments in which they feel most focused. This might be the physical environment or the sort of people they would be working with.
  • Question them about the work-related experiences that they have enjoyed either  in a work setting or using work competencies. What was it about the experiences that they found most fulfilling?
  • Help them to recognise their core values, the aspects of life that are not negotiable for them. Build those core values into their career choices.

Let's all aim for absolute integrity in our career, unmasking ourselves to live and work with consistency, passion and balance.

Are you in the driver's seat of your own career, or do you feel like you are living a work life that you have little control over?

A sense of control matters more to some people than others, but when your career is being dictated by other people then it is time to take stock.

How do you know if someone else is pulling your Career Strings?

  • Are you currently working on a project or task that isn't what you want to do, but it is what you have been pigeonholed doing at your workplace?
  • Are your requests to change your position within the company being ignored because you are "so good at what you do that we couldn't do it without you" or words to that effect?
  • Did you enter your current work because someone else suggested it would be good for you, or because of subtle pressure from family?
  • Do you go to work each day, wishing you were going somewhere else but feeling like there is no alternative?
  • Do you have unresolved career dreams but others have told you that they are unrealistic or impractical so forget them?

It is time for you to take charge of your own career! You owe it to yourself. Being miserable at work is one of the greatest causes of stress and of subsequent health issues. It also flows through to your attitudes to every other aspect of your life, your relationships, your opportunities and your self-esteem.

So I challenge you to ask yourself who is pulling your career strings?

Career dreams sometimes seem out of reach. Even when people know what they really want to do they often put their dreams on hold, classified as unachievable because of the realities of life. Perhaps your career dream would require further study but bills need to be paid. Perhaps it involves reinventing the person that you show to the world. Perhaps you doubt your abilities and skills to achieve the role you want. Please don't let this stop you from working through the process of making a career change. You just might amaze yourself.

Even your career dreams that are completely unrealistic shouldn't be discarded. They don't have to be realistic or achievable to reveal a lot about you. They are like the career ambitions you expressed as a young child, full of raw recognition of who you really are beyond the facade of your everyday life.

Examine your career dreams and what they are saying about you. Dig under the job label and see what is really involved in that occupation. Does your career dream reveal a desire to be listened to or to help others? Does it come from your fascination with wild animals, or from your love of beautiful objects? Does it demonstrate your desire to be active and outdoors, to experience a level of notriety, or to be quietly working behind the scenes.

Similarly consider your dreams of what said you would be "when I grow up." Children's early career ambitions often are quite revealing, showing a level of self-understanding that isn't always around when you actually have to make career decisions. They are true to your nature, not clouded by what seems too difficult or out of reach.

Each of these values are valuable as you consider how you can make a career change to something that you will find fulfilling. Write down each clue as you recognise it and see if a pattern is starting to develop to help you make your career decisions.

By knowing yourself well you will increase your chances of making a successful career change. If you deeply understand the aspects of work life that you find fulfilling, the level of responsibility that you thrive on, and the environmental factors that satisfy you, then you begin to know who you are in relation to your work.

How do you do this? Simply develop your own criteria list for your ideal work situation. This involves recognising all the factors that you genuinely like or have liked about any work you have done, factors such as the type of people you like to work with, the environment you enjoy being in, physical activity and the level of interpersonal interaction.

You must also consider your personal strengths and skills. Unless things are absolutely desperate, you should not work in a career that does not suit your personal strengths and skills as it is unlikely that you will be happy or even productive. if you are able to find something that truly fulfils you and allows you to work within the criteria that you developed, in conjunction with your long-term career ambitions, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success.

You have innate skills that you can apply to your career transition. What is it that you love to do? Know this and apply this and you will soon attract to you a career that fits your criteria and you will have a successful career change.

When being interviewed, you are ac8ually interviewing the interviewer as well, without them realising it! You need to decide if the job that they are offering actually suits your needs, as much as they need to decide if you will meet their needs.

Good self-knowledge enables you to choose wisely which path you wish to take. Know yourself well to be able to live your career dreams!

A career change usually implies moving into a different occupational role, job description or even industry. Yet you'd be amazed at how many people consider a major change in their career without doing the necessary research to really understand all the factors that will impact them in their new career.

You must know the reality of the work you are seeking when you are looking for a career change. What are the salaries, expectations, opportunities and predicted future prospects of that occupation? When you know the labour market you are prepared and ready for anything. You know what you want and how what you want fits with what others are seeking. In understanding the labour market, you understand what is expected of you and you are able to make clearer decisions to assist with your career change. Your answers in interviews will also be more succinct.

No matter what your industry there are ways you can find out the most up to date information. The internet makes research about companies so much easier than it used to be. But insider knowledge is really important too. Maybe you know someone in the industry who can inform you, or perhaps you could make contact with someone you admire within your industry and arrange to meet with them to ask about current industry and labour market trends. Either way you will come to understand how your industry is currently faring in the economy and what are the key employment trends in the industry.

Just by doing a little investigative work you will increase your chances of making clear decisions on your future, making your career change so much easier.