The importance of a clear framework when choosing a career

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Photo credit: Pine Watt

When you’re at a point in your career when you know you want to do something different, it can be both exciting and overwhelming. Exciting because you believe you’re headed in a better direction, and overwhelming because, well, there’s a lot to figure out.

And when there’s a lot to figure out, it’s natural to want to fixate on something concrete, if only so you have an answer to the question you’re bound to encounter whenever the subject of changing careers comes up: “So what do you want to do?”

This is why so many clients I’ve worked with over the years have often started by saying that they know exactly what they want to do: “I want to go into PR,” “I want to work in the clean energy sector,” or “I want to work in tech.” They believe that they have to know which direction they’re headed in before they can enlist the services of a career expert.

But whenever I’ve pushed on why they want to pursue the path they’ve declared for themselves, they rarely answer with any clarity. “I want to help people” or “I want to make the world better” are common responses, whether someone is talking about PR or clean energy. Something else I hear a lot is, “I’ve benefitted from X and therefore I want to work for them.”

Clarity matters. Unless you can articulate why, exactly, you want to work for a certain company or in a certain industry or in a certain field, no one is going to hire you.

Which is where we come in.

At ArcVida, we have all our clients go through the Discovery phase, during which they create a framework for what work happiness looks like to them. Building a framework consists of unpacking the elements of what you want in your next job.

So instead of saying, “I want to work at X company because they do good in the world,” a client will realize they want to work for a company whose mission or ultimate goal they believe in. Or instead of, “I want to work for an advertising agency,” a client will pinpoint that they want to work in a collaborative environment around creative people. Instead of, “I want to work for big tech,” a client will understand that what they really want is to work for a forward-thinking company so they can learn what they need to know in order to start their own company down the line.

The Discovery phase doesn’t just include reflection: clients go through an assessment so they can identify their operational style at work, as well as making an inventory of their skills – both hard and soft.

When clients come to us believing they already know exactly what they want to do, the Discovery phase can feel like it’s just slowing them down in terms of getting where they want to go.

Here’s what we tell them:

- If you focus on a particular company or industry instead of unpacking the elements you want in your next job, you will limit your opportunities, which will delay finding the right job by months, or even more than a year.

- When you’re able to explain with a great deal of self-awareness why you’re interested in specific opportunities, people will want to help you, and the right people will want to hire you. It’s difficult to help someone with a vague idea; specifics allow people to know where they come into the picture. If you think you know exactly what you want to do but haven’t gotten any offers, there’s a reason.

In the Discovery phase, nearly all our clients discover things about themselves they hadn’t previously realized. But even for the ones who knew most of it before, they are able to state what they want, why they want it, and what they offer with a clarity they didn’t have before.

If you’d like to go through ArcVida’s entire Discovery phase for just $10, click here to learn more: https://arcvida.com/Register

Published on 5/24/2019