June 20, 2012 by Joyce Richman
Three people, three challenges. The names aren’t theirs, but the stories are.
And many of you share them.
Daniel doesn’t know how to describe his career dilemma other than to say he is, “… lost, clueless, and stuck. I can’t get started because I don’t know where I want to go. I don’t want to interview because I know I’m flat. I’ve been told I act like I don’t care if I get the job. That’s true. I don’t want to be stuck in a job that I don’t like, can’t do, don’t want. I’m waiting for the right thing to show up. My friends tell me I’ll be waiting for a long time.”
Barbara has maxed out and doesn’t know it.
“When I got this job I thought I hit the jackpot. It was everything I loved. It challenged me by stretching and developing my skills and abilities. I got promotions and increases and everything was wonderful and then, it seemed almost overnight, I burned out. I thought I was tired, needed a vacation, a fresh perspective. My boss encouraged me to take time off (with my cell phone, computer and access to his emails). I took a two- week break, then six months leave. I’m due back tomorrow. I don’t want to go. I don’t want this job. And I don’t know “what’s next. ”
Clare is a go-getting, “high potential”. Her company fast-tracked her to stardom and then she lost her shine.
“Everything I did was aimed at getting promoted. I asked everyone who was supposed to know; mentors, coaches, bosses, for advice on how to get ahead. What I heard was that I was a creative and enthusiastic change agent who needed more visibility and opportunity to demonstrate my strategic agility. They told me that I could move up by managing more people and fewer tasks, allowing others to handle the tactics and day to day while I handled the strategy and design for the future.
I trusted their advice, did what they said, and tried my hardest. But I wasn’t a motivating, empowering, encouraging, delegating people manager. I wasn’t a visionary strategist. I wasn’t what they said I needed to be.
When I was doing what I did best everyone thought I hung the moon. When I wasn’t, everyone wanted to hang me. I worked insane hours. I was frustrated and distracted. I beat up my subordinates. They weren’t good enough or fast enough; they didn’t care as much and they didn’t work as hard. So I did it all myself. The more I did, they more they let me do.
I was more relieved than disappointed when my boss told me the company was letting me go.
I create and develop systems for change. From now on, I’ll connect with what I do best and leverage that talent for myself and my company. I still want promotions and want to be part of the leadership team and I’ll rely on my internal compass to get there.”
Three different people share similar challenges: “Where’s
‘there’?” “What’s next?” “Who am I supposed to be?” Daniel and Barbara need to look inside and ask questions that only they can answer: When am I at my best? What do I enjoy, do well, and want to continue doing? When am I determined to succeed? What makes me curious, what do I pursue?
For every interest, there are talents. For every talent there are jobs and careers. Questions like, “what I am supposed to do when I grow up?” are answered through directed self- assessment and increased self- awareness. You have to know your story if you want to find your future.
Clare learned, the hard way, to trust herself. What’s your story?