Get in the driver’s seat of your career!

Driver Woman Photo(First published in the international women’s business magazine, BusinessOFeminin.)

How are you feeling about your current job?  Let me guess. The chances are you are not very satisfied.  If so, you are not alone.  Studies show that up to 75% of employees globally feel unhappy at work. At a time of high unemployment and lacklustre job growth, many employees feel stuck in their jobs and unable to consider a career move even if they are unsatisfied.

Employers who want an engaged and productive workforce need to find ways to help employees feel challenged and rewarded by work, for example by offering more training and education or further developing corporate social responsibility functions.

On an individual level, building a meaningful and personally satisfying career takes a lot of courage, flexibility, belief, risk-taking and hard work.

I often advise my clients to imagine that their career is their best friend. We normally don’t go for too long without checking in on our best friend and showing that we care, right? The same applies to your professional life: invest time and energy into your career and watch it grow and thrive.

Your career is more likely to flourish if you have a solid understanding of who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, your talents, expertise and achievements. The more aware you are of what makes you unique in your field, the more empowered and pro-active you will feel about managing your career. Knowing your strengths will also allow you to put yourself in a position where your talent will thrive.

The third piece of the puzzle that puts you in charge of your career is knowing what you enjoy doing and where you can excel. The knowledge of your passions, energising activities and areas of excellencewill lead to seeing new opportunities and help you build a new career that is more meaningful.

The last piece is gaining clarity about your current personal values. Our values change and evolve as we go through stages of life. Being clear about what’s important to you now, what you value most, and what motivates you best – e.g. work-life balance, autonomy, a challenging environment that pushes you to grow, opportunities for advancement, excellence and integrity, working for a social business that gives back, self-expression or a bigger meaning – will help you decide if your current company/job is the best fit for you. Your values will also serve as a compass to help you make the right choice about your next employer.

Getting the right support at the right time will help you make the right decisions and get back into the driving seat of your career faster. Reach out for support – to friends, your partner, a career coach or a mentor – if you are struggling with fears, low self-belief or are not clear as to what your strengths or passions are.

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