It is to figure out where you think you want to go with your career. You can adapt this later on. This is not cast in stone. The decision you make today may be a different one than you make two or three years from now. We’re always changing, and the circumstances of life are always changing.
The work world of today is a vastly different one than the one I entered in the 1970’s.
These days, we start by figuring out where we want to go. From there you start breaking it down to figure out what you’ll need to do in order to get there, including what’s most important to you—your values—because not everyone has the same value system as another.
Until you get clear of your values, you’re in danger of following someone else’s path—like the one your parents set you on, for example.
Once you understand what your values are, you can ask what will be the most important things to you in the next job or organization. What are you going to need to see or hear or feel in order to know it’s the right place for you?
You can do this in a variety of different ways. It might be useful, first of all, to take some time with yourself and figure out through journaling, and then speak with someone else to see if you’re being realistic. So, for example, the beginner who says, “I want to change jobs now and I want to become the Chief Financial Officer with an organization with my next job change,” is certainly being unrealistic. The likelihood of such a thing happening is next to non-existent. You might need a reality check.
Once you’ve had an opportunity to identify where you want to go in the next few years, speak with a trusted advisor. It could be a trusted current or former colleague, a mentor or clergyman, but ideally it should be someone from the profession that you’re in or want to be in. Someone who has gone through what you want to go through.
It is definitely a balancing act. In fact, what I hope you get from this program is the understanding that I don’t want you to be a drone. I don’t want you to be the next cog in the machine. I want you to be able to dream and be able to achieve the big things in life. At the same time, I want you to have the opportunity to be practical, because you’re going to have to take steps between now and that dream in order to get there.
Let’s look at some of the very basic things you can ask yourself. What kind of job do you want to have? What’s the nature of the work that you’re willing to accept? What are you trying to find in the next firm? What are you trying to get away from at your current firm? Sometimes, you need to go to the negative and identify that in order to get to the positive.
What are you going to need to see or hear or know to determine if the next firm is a fit for you? What sort of conditions or qualities do you want to continue from your current circumstances? What do you like about your current job? What are the qualities in your boss that you like and dislike? Are there certain benefits that you’re going to need, like a particular type of health insurance, that will also be important to you at the next firm? Is tuition reimbursement a critical item for you? What’s the nature of the work or location? What other sort of things just come to your mind that are going to be important to you in the next firm?
Once you’re done answering all of these questions—and you should write down as much as you can–I hope your list is enormous, because then I want you to do next is prioritize the items: take a look at this list and figure out what’s the most important thing on this list, the thing that you must absolutely have? What is the second item? What’s third? What’s fourth? What’s fifth? Normally, the top five is enough, but you may need six or even eight items. Whatever the number, you need to figure out what the critical items are for you and then what the preferred things could be.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2007, 2016