What is important to you in a job or career?
During this post, I will outline an exercise that will help you answer this question. The following is an approach I have used with my private coaching and psychotherapy clients, as well as with myself in the past.
Focus on what you want or need from a job. Take some time and look at where you are now, where you want to be and what is in between here and there.
Note: This exercise will only be as useful as you let it be, so do this when and where you won’t be bothered by external distractions. Realize there are no right or wrong answers.
Sit down somewhere quiet with a pad of paper, a computer, or an audio recorder and prepare to brainstorm. Ask yourself the following questions and others that may be relevant to you.
What Is Important To Me?
Make a quick list of whatever pops into your mind.
Do not judge or edit your thoughts. Do not worry about grammar or spelling.
The list below is for example purposes only. Do not limit yourself to these and replace the ones that doesn‘t fit:
- Job security
- Not being limited by others
- Financial security
- Social relationships
- Understanding what is going on and why
- Having control over your future
- Being a part of a greater whole
- Just being apart
- Having tangibles
- Cultivating intangibles
- Making a difference in your life
What would make me happy?
How would I know if I was happy?
What is keeping me for being happy?
What needs of mine are not being met?
Now focus on your job or career (or the one you want) and ask these questions.
What is important to me in a job?
- Being creative?
- Getting it right?
- The bottom-line?
- Loyalty…? Again these are just some examples.
How would I know I had the right job?
Is it important for me to have a job I love or is it just a means to an end?
What motivates me?
What would my ideal job be?
What aspect of that job make it ideal?
Is it the job that is ideal or is it the things I do in that job, the title, the position, and the roles within that job?
Is my job consistent with my career path? Does it need to be?
How much is my identity tied to my job? If I lose my job or don’t have a job do I lose my identity and who I am?
Use DISC To Reinforce What Is Important To You
Next review the results of your DISC profile. If you have not completed the DISC Profile within the last six months and there have been major changes in your life during that time, you may want to take the DISC again.
Use your DISC report as a tool to stimulate thoughts about what is important to you in a job or career. Look at what your preferences are, what motivates you and what stress you out. Is what you are looking for unique to a particular job or industry or can you find it in many totally unrelated jobs and industries? Again, is it a particular job or title that is important to you, or is it what you do within that job that is significant to you?
Previous Job Evaluation
Review the jobs you have had in your past. Create two columns on a page. On one side list: “What did I like about that job?” On the other side list: “What didn’t I like in that job?” Review the list. Look past the obvious and search for patterns. Look for common threads, e.g. “I liked helping people because it made me feel good” or “I felt great when I achieved my goals and I take pride in my independence.”
Next make the three columns: 1) What do I want in a job? 2) What do I need in a job (non-negotiable)? 3) What I don’t want in a job (non-negotiable) and fill it out referring to the above exercise. Look for common patterns and roles you have been in that transcends job title, position, or industry.
Why is it so powerful to add the DISC assessment to this exercise? Here are two reasons:
- It reinforces what we already know about ourselves.
- It brings out blind spots about ourselves that we are not aware of, takes for granted, or think unimportant. For example, a person with an “S” DISC style may discover that being a part of a team is important to her, but might be totally unaware how important that is to her in a job and how in certain jobs it would be an asset that differentiates her. She just assumes that everyone would be happier being part of a team. Another example is a “D” style sales professional who doesn’t realize how vital it is to his sense of self to work independently and get immediate feedback on his success through daily commission reports and can’t figure out why he is unhappy when he has been moved to a straight salary sales position and has to be a part of a “sales team”.
Think about the insights your DISC assessment reveals. Then go back to the questions above and refine your answers. See what you learned about what is important to you and use it to expand your job and career options.