We’ve reached the end of all the who, where, what, when, and how questions. The final questions are WHY, which I’ve left to the end because they’re so important. These provide the reason and energy for doing all the other hard work, and indeed for having any career at all.
Why do I work? On the face of it, this may seem an absurd question. You work so you can get money, so that you can afford everything else in your life. But wait just a minute! If that’s all you ever get from work, why do you do? Why aren’t you out there doing something illegal, just because it would give you more money?
I’ll challenge you to create a list of five reasons why you work. Sure, money’s on there, but what are the others? Is there something about making a contribution, serving customers, or developing yourself?
Why am I here in this world? This may feel much too philosophical, but stay with me. The answer to this question will help to highlight your worldview – in general, why people exist, and specifically, how that relates to you personally. If you view the world in a religious sense (people exist to fulfill God’s plan, that kind of thing) then it can help you to discover the larger spiritual basis of your life.
If your view is more that societies and groups are the core reason for existence (we are here to help each other and accomplish important things as a group), you’ll steer in a direction of investigating which group and society goals you identify with.
You might have an individualistic view (I exist to accomplish what I can and develop my skills and position). In this case you’ll be looking for your current position and assets, and what’s the most that you can make out of it.
You get to choose. But it’s perhaps the most important decision you could possibly make.
Why am I in this situation? Building upon the world view, you’ll have opinions about why you are where you are. But this is extremely tricky, because the easy answer is to blame your situation on the actions of other people. It’s largely true, of course, because other people outnumber you by about 6 billion to one.
But it’s not particularly useful, because there’s little you can do about it. So the more fruitful direction to take is to look at what you’ve done to contribute to the situation. If you were a contributing factor, then if you want to change or expand it, you also contribute to that.
Let’s take a concrete example, from about 20 years ago in my own past. Why had I achieved my position at that point, which had both positive and negative aspects?
I’ll leave you to work on these broad questions, which can become an important foundation for the creation of your new career and life direction!
An important resource
LinkedIn is so much more than a place to put your résumé or CV, or to connect with others in your profession. Did you know that you can learn about companies by their LinkedIn profiles, and the people who work/worked for them?
I’ve heard growing numbers of stories of companies that actively go out and look for employees through LinkedIn, because the prospect of thousands of responses to an advertisement are so daunting. And like it or not, some companies have the perception that most of the top employees are already working someplace (e.g. competitors) and not looking at advertisements. I think this is faulty logic in the current economy, but I know of people who think this way.
The most powerful aspect of LinkedIn, for me, is the long list of groups and areas of special interests. There are interesting and valuable discussions taking place, and participating in them will give you information and help you to establish a presence with people you’ve never met.
|Carl Dierschow is a Certified Small Fish Business Coach and author of the career management guide, Mondays Stink! 23 Secrets to Rediscover Delight and Fulfillment in Your Work. He is a career coach for those going through interesting transitions, and works with small business owners who need to create breakthroughs in achieving their business goals. Find out more at www.Dierschow.com and www.SmallFish.us.If you are interested in individual career coaching, group coaching, or other resources which might help you with difficult choices, please contact Carl at email@example.com.
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