This post is courtesy of greyzone Guest Blogger, Jane Dewar
Following a nagging feeling that there was more to my life than “working to live,” I set out on a two year journey of self-discovery. I needed to really figure out what was important to me in my career. Being intentional was the key.
Throughout this process I have been fortunate enough to meet incredible people who have shared their wisdom, experiences, given advice and offered support. I thank each and every one of them for their presence in my life.
It is also because of all these supportive individuals that I was able to learn very valuable lessons and find myself finally at the close of this part of my journey and about to begin an exciting new career chapter.
As Gandhi said “our prime purpose in this life is to help others”. Thus, I would now like to share my main ten lessons with all of you.
Lesson #1 – Be your genuine self
I spent years, literally, trying to make others happy. This left me feeling hollow and empty. I came to realize that the key to finding my next career path, and who I ultimately wanted to become, was getting in touch with my genuine self.
Part of my inner struggle came from being surrounded by people with whom I didn’t have real connections. If I was going to attract like-minded individuals, I needed to be true to who I was and the person I wanted to become. What was really important to me? What were my values?
As part of a “Chart Your Destiny” exercise, a friend sent me a list of 100+ values and instructed me to narrow my core values down to 10-15. Once I had my list firmly established, it became a great resource in evaluating companies, and/or products, that I would want to represent.
Lesson #2 – Seek out people with whom you feel a genuine connection
All the experts will tell you that putting yourself out there and “leveraging your network” are vital to your career search. For me this advice needed to be slightly modified.
Do ask for help and reconnect with the people in your network. Be certain, however, that the people you are reaching out to are genuine supporters of your intent. This is true for family, friends, professional acquaintances, staffing companies, etc.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and make a connection, whether it is at a workshop, conference or in a small group setting. This is how I met Kris Boesch of Choose People and Jane Miller of Jane Knows, two individuals who were a wealth of support and advice during my career search.
Lesson#3 – Know yourself and how you are wired
I come from a long line of anxious women and am not ashamed to admit that I too have anxiety. Anyone who has ever struggled with true anxiety knows how debilitating your own thoughts and fears can be.
Learning various coping mechanisms, the importance of positive self-talk and acknowledging that change is particularly challenging for me, were all vital in my career journey.
Lesson #4 – Be honest with yourself about what you need
I came to realize that I wanted to find mentors whose experiences I could learn from, helping me gain clarity and be intentional.
Throughout the interview preparation process, I struggled to articulate what I was most proud of in my professional career. I am very self-critical and managed to turn every accomplishment into something that I could have done better.
I was discussing this with a mentor of mine and she said something that resonated perfectly…. “Knowing yourself well enough to know that you are seeking mentors at this point in your life, is something to be proud of!” This also ties into Lesson #3.
Lesson #5 – Don’t be afraid to make yourself a priority
For years I followed the same pattern, feeling unhappy at work, I found many excuses to stay. The idea of change was anxiety provoking.
One day a professional acquaintance, whose opinion I greatly value, suggested I contact Tami and greyzone.
When I told my husband that I wanted to buy the comprehensive Chart Your Job Search package, I felt hopeful and optimistic for the first time in months. This was the best gift I could have given myself. Tami is one of the most caring, genuine people I have encountered in my professional career and I wouldn’t be starting a new job that I am actually excited about without her coaching and guidance.
Lesson #6 – Follow Your Instincts
I have been guilty on many occasions of dishing out the “follow your instincts” mantra to others and not following my own advice. I believe this is called being a hypocrite J. While the term stings a bit, I have to admit it rings true. Whether it was taking jobs with obvious “red flags” or talking myself into staying with companies that weren’t meeting my needs, I found many ways to silence my instincts.
Kris Boesch of Choose People said it best “when it’s right, you’ll know it in your heart and soul”. This is how I feel about the job offer I just accepted. It feels right for me and is in line with the intentions I set for myself.
Lesson #7 – Hurry up and wait! – Don’t take it personally
“Hurry up and wait” is the part of the career search that I found particularly frustrating. You get a call from a recruiter telling you about a job that you would be a great fit for, it sounds promising and they are “hot to trot” and whether you are driving, working or otherwise engaged, you rush back to your computer and immediately submit all of your information. Phew! Done! Surely they’ll call the next day, or at the very least the same week with an update, right? Not so much! After days, a week, or several, you decide to follow up. Sometimes you get the “still reviewing applications”, “working to define role”, “the budget is not yet approved” type responses. Other times you hear nothing. Sound familiar to anyone?
Lesson learned here, several times over in fact, is that this is not personal and if it is, it wasn’t the right fit anyway!
Lesson #8 – Be very intentional and thoughtful – Don’t Settle
Everyone knows that looking for a job is a difficult and tedious process. What people often don’t talk about is the emotional toll that this can take.
Once you have articulated your intent and laid out that “ideal job”, the key is to stick with it, be thoughtful and not settle. This is where it gets tough. You have your resume updated, you know exactly what you are looking for. You’ve made connections with all your “peeps” and now its “crickets”.
On days when all you find are jobs that make you want to cringe and the opportunities that excite you yield no results, your self-confidence can take a real hit. This is where Lessons #8 & 9 will wrap this up.
Lesson #9 – Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Whether you believe in career counselors, therapists, energy workers, healers, psychics, exercise regiments, Facebook groups or simply exchanging stories with others going through the same process, don’t be afraid to ask for help and/or try something new. People will surprise you and acquaintances you thought were just that may show up in ways that you never expected.
My blessings and serendipitous moments came from being introduced to Tami, with whom I felt an instant connection, working with a dowser/energy reader, building professional connections with strangers I was drawn to, asking for help in the form of informational interviews and hearing the experiences of others.
Lesson #10 – Routines Work!
Setting achievable goals for each day and being able to “check them off”, provided me with a sense of accomplishment. At the beginning of each week I would write out my “To-Do” list on a pad of paper and literally “check off” tasks as they got completed.
I am a big believer in overall wellness. If you are stressed and drained emotionally, or plain anxious, having a healthy outlet is very important. Find that routine that will mellow you out. This can be yoga, taking your dog for a walk, going to the gym at lunch time, taking time to meditate, etc. For me it is Jazzercise!!! (and no, we do not wear leg warmers and leotards in 2016 J).
While my personal journey is far from over, I am looking forward to the next chapter of my professional career. If any of my experiences resonated with you, or you simply want to talk to someone who has been there, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org