The Resilient Career
For my entire career I’ve made conscious choices to move to the next organization, and likely the next job within a company. Or an unexpected opportunity has presented itself and I have chosen to jump at it. In all cases, it has been at a time and place of my own choosing.
From this frame of reference I have told job seekers to “start by knowing yourself”. I’ve told them to know their values, how they like to work, the kind of place they want to work — and then to go find somewhere to work that meets those needs. Overall, I don’t think this is bad advice. You SHOULD have self-awareness or you will risk choosing roles for the wrong reason. But now, I must apologize to those job seekers — this is a start, but it’s not all there is to surviving and thriving in the workforce.
Some of you may recognize the Japanese philosophy of ikigai, which is sort of what I’ve been getting at with the “what you love” and “what you’re good at” pieces:
I really love this idea of matching up what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for. Great idea. But there is a challenge with this: you can’t control what the world needs, and you definitely can’t control what you get paid for.
What does the world need? Really? Where to start…. global warming, food security, human rights, etc. etc. How does your skill set align to jobs in those kind of large-scale problems? How many degrees of separation exist between “solving the problem” and your day to day job? Does working for a non-profit or an NGO get you closer to addressing a world need? Can those organizations pay you enough to satisfy your immediate needs, or do they expect your passion for “the mission” to pay your mortgage? Ugh, the concepts are too big to wrap my head around.
I know, I know, there are entrepreneurs out there that will say “just start your own business!” What a privileged place you must be in if this is an option. For the rest of us with family, healthcare, student loans or other obligations, starting your own business is just not feasible — so you’re back to “what will other people pay for?”
Some suggest then, to look for roles that bring you happiness — if you do then success may or may not follow, but at least you’ll…