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July 07, 2008

Your Job Should Be Your Calling

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In May I attended a career conference sponsored by The Ladders and Kennedy Information. A lot of well-known folks inside Career Management Alliance and around the globe attended. As the conference blogger and photographer I also represented one of my key vendors. This experience put me back in touch with the kind of thought leaders that drive the career industry – Susan Whitcomb, Liz Sumner, Richard Leider, Jason Alba, Paul Forster, Dave Opton, Joseph McCool, Barb Safani and many others.

One of the talks by Leider focused on people who suffer from what he calls the “inner kill” and that kind of nails a lot of what I work on with my clients. He calls it the art of dying without knowing it. How many people die by a million small cuts? I mean people work so hard and then find out they are not fulfilled. If you want to be an achiever your job usually must mean more or should mean more than a paycheck. Richard Leider and really a lot of conference participants spoke about practices to help clients revitalize, renew and capture your work-life balance or as I like to put it your work-life mission. You can view this in a secular or non-secular way. But you should not pretend that it does not matter. It does.

Unfortunately most people only realize problems when they become a crisis. To prevent job or career crisis management I recommend that you ask yourself these questions first:

1. Am I completely fulfilled in my work-life? Remember your worklife does not have to be only what you do to make money. It can absolutely be a combination of work, family/home, volunteer and anything that adds to your worklife.

2. What am I doing to challenge myself to stay focused, happy and productive at work?

3. If work ended tomorrow what would I do short-term and long-term?

One way that I advocate you look at your career is to focus on your career third person, like you are a business.

From a work point of view consider this:

Would it surprise you to find that your company has been sold, your division cut or that your new boss decided that despite your obvious, multi-year contributions that you were expendable? How would you handle a career transition now? What if the what if happened and you faced unemployment in the next 12 months? How would facts like these affect your attitude and your economy? In the 12 years of coaching clients and developing outplacement and job search strategies, few lessons learned come to mind quicker than most people at all levels of careers, entry-level to executive, run the business of their career this way crisis management.

To run your career properly treat it like a business, anticipate change, embrace change and remember that you have made a rather serious business investment. Whether you own your own business or not you need to know that transforming change takes place daily. On a small scale the sand shifts underneath you as a business leader, business owner or person who works for an organization or company. Will you be ready for small changes? Will you be prepared to accept total responsibility for your business and career? Will you take ownership and not make excuses for challenges during your career? Will you embrace the new digital economy and challenge yourself to think differently? Unfortunately I want to get out of management for a number of reasons, a recent Fortune 100 human resources manager and client exclaimed to me. Maybe it’s me but all I seem to do is babysit, deal with personnel issues and try to get people to understand the new realities of today. I wish people at every level would think about their job from the owner’s point of view.

You own the business of your career. Now what do you do?

One Response to “Your Job Should Be Your Calling”

  1. July 08, 2008 at 8:29 am, Susan Whitcomb said:

    “Hear, hear”! Completely agree, John. A job is a paycheck. A career is purposeful. A calling is passion empowered. And, here are 3 quick tips for people to help “hear” their calling:
    1) Ask yourself, what have I been put on this planet to fix, right, create, restore?
    2) Whom do I get the most energy from serving/helping or working with?
    3) What ideas have I been resisting? (A calling will typically upset your comfort zone!)
    Susan Whitcomb
    http://www.CareerCoachAcademy.com

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