You know how most people aren’t clear about what the next step in their career path is or what their ultimate goal is job-wise? Honestly, once most kids realized being Batman was off the table it became hard to answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and not much has changed.
What if answering 5 Questions could give you clarity?
Imagine writing down the answers to five simple questions and being able to understand what type of career you truly want and more importantly what types of careers you DO NOT want. The simple act of thoughtfully filling in the blanks with answers from your current and past jobs will bring you a huge dose of clarity. The answers to these five simple questions really become the litmus test for every future job opportunity or career path. In other words they help you snap your career goals into sharp focus.
Here are the 5 Questions:
I feel most unhappy in roles where I _______________________________
At work, I dread _______________________________
I can complete but do not enjoy tasks that _______________________________
I cannot understand why anyone would choose to _______________________________
_______________________________ simply does not appeal to me.
Wow, that seems pretty negative doesn’t it? It does, but the point is to use a negative to prove a positive. If you know these are the things you aren’t looking for, it helps you visualize what you really are looking for. The exercise is built around taking situations from your previous experience and using that information to highlight those roles, tasks, and categories of jobs that aren’t a great fit for you. Then you can measure your career aspirations against this. Check out the example below to see how this works.
Here is an example:
- I feel most unhappy in roles where I : complete repetitive tasks, lack visibility for my efforts, am unable to contribute due to co-worker influence, don’t make a significant impact, lack influence
- At work, I dread: meetings where I don’t have a voice, being told to do things the same way as they have always been done, completing record keeping tasks, having to self-promote, feeling left out
- I can complete but do not enjoy tasks that: require detail focus on record keeping, record what has already happened, track incremental progress over time, seem trivial
- I cannot understand why anyone would choose to: fly under the radar, do the same things every day, not ask questions, stay in one role for the rest of their career
- Statistical analysis, trend reporting, being stagnant, playing it safe, and listening to uninformed leaders simply does not appeal to me.
The answers above help clarify that this individual wants to make an impact. They want their work to matter and they want influence. They are looking for a role where they will face new and interesting challenges every day and not stay stagnant. They want to ask questions and be recognized.
This lens can be used to focus their energy on choosing their next role or even mapping out their entire career path. For instance, it sounds like this individual wants to move into a position of influence or people management where the work is new and challenging, where they spend their day answering questions and working on innovative strategy. What will your answers say about you?