Confusion is the first step towards realization. Every successful person has been through it. Unfortunately, it comes with some angst and the need to assess. This assessment may lead to realization that you must take up a new path or direction, or, to reiteration that you must accept your present path. I firmly believe that we have answers to all our questions and all it takes is to delve and assess objectively. The following technique has been successfully used on a number of people across ages, roles, with corporate and non-corporate backgrounds.
Make a list of all the things you want from your professional work.
- Enough time to go on vacations
- Enough money to stabilize my finances
- Have the opportunities to grow and learn
- Work from home when I want to
- Change careers and work in consulting
Add as many as you want. Read them and update them as needed.
If you have over 10 items in your list above, cut out one half of items that you are willing to give up for the remaining ones in your list. Continue halving the list until you get to 10 or so.
Now that you have a list of 10 or less items, keep your top five and cross out the rest. The best way to do this is to ask yourself, the following questions:
Using the above example in step #1,
- Do I want to have enough money to stabilize my finances or do I want to have enough time to go on vacations?
- Do I want to have enough money to stabilize my finances or do I want to work from home when I want to?
- Do I want to have enough money to stabilize my finances or do I want to change careers to consulting?
- Do I want to have enough time to go on vacations or do I want to work from home when I want to?
- Do I want to work from home when I want to or do I want to work in consulting?
Do you get an idea of the line of questioning? These questions will help you determine your top five choices.
Congratulations! You now have your top five priorities for work and career!
As an example, let’s assume, we picked, 1) Finances, 2) Opportunity to learn, 3) Change careers, 4) Proximity to family, and, 5) Career growth in International markets, as the top five priorities.
Now, make a list of all the aspirational roles you would like to take up. Include at least three options based on your current skill set.
- I want to work as an editor in the US publishing industry.
- I would like to work as a senior manager in consulting for the media industry in New Zealand.
- I would like to go to New Zealand and start my own company in media
Now, pick your top four from the list above.
If you have two or three in your list, that is fine too.
If you have one, then you’ve already figured it out.
This is perhaps a little trickier than the above steps and it helps to have someone review your responses to the first five steps before you begin step #6.
- You have your top five priorities.
- You have your top two to four options of the kind of work you want to do and your role in each of them.
Score each option with your top five priorities on a scale of 0.1 to 1.0.
Option 1: I want to work as an editor in the US publishing industry
Priority 1: Stabilize finances: 0.1 (Since it would require starting as a Junior editor and they probably don’t pay as well as my current role as a Senior manager at a consulting firm. Also it would require a move to the US and would be expensive)
Priority 2: Opportunity to learn and grow: 0.9 (Since the editor role would be new and there would be lots of new stuff to learn)
Priority 3: Change careers: 1.0 (Moving to publishing would be a change in career)
Priority 4: Proximity to family: 0.1 (Since the job is in the US, and my family lives in India, the proximity to family is low)
If the above scoring does not work, include scores for feasibility, ease, and other such metrics.
Total the scores and pick your top 2.
Focus on your top two and accordingly, network with the people in those industries and apply for jobs.
If you try this technique and have any questions please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If this worked for you, please do share your experience. Look forward to hearing from you.