Sunday, 18 September 2016

Going to a career

My father-in-law works in HR. A few years ago when I was thinking about changing jobs, he gave me a piece of advice that stuck. He said:

"People are either leaving a job or going to a job. Make sure you're going to something."

Sometimes you're changing jobs primarily to escape your current situation. You might have an unpleasant manager or colleagues, feel that you're being paid unfairly, find your work boring or the working conditions intolerable. You're searching for something else. You're leaving a job.

On the other hand, sometime's you're changing jobs in active pursuit of the next challenge. You might be looking to gain experience in a new industry, for a new role within your profession, or for a greater level of responsibility in your existing discipline. You're searching for something specific. You're going to a job.

These two states aren't mutually exclusive, obviously you might have reasons in both categories. But his advice was that the reasons you're going to a job should always outweigh the reasons that you leave your existing one.

When I reflect on my career, I have definitely changed jobs in both situations. But it has been those occasions where I've moved towards a new role, rather than escaping an old one, that have propelled my career forward. The decisions that I've made consciously in pursuit of a broader purpose, rather than as a convenient change in immediate circumstance, have always served me best.

I find myself regularly sharing this same advice with others who are considering their career. If you're thinking about what's next, make sure you're going to something. Deliberate steps forward are how we grow and challenge ourselves.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Katrina,
    Good post - I agree and would like to add another angle.
    When you working in a good job you have the freedom to choose if you want to stay or go. For myself when I felt that I needed to leave a job it was rarely by choice it felt more like a compulsion before anything (or more) bad happens. Something to consider.
    I read a great article once stating that employees don't leave jobs, they leave managers. As a manager it's part of my job to create the right environment so people feel secure and can learn. If I fail in that they leave - me and the job/company.
    I had people go to another job and was completely fine with that, in fact actively helped them. But that only works, as you pointed out, if they proactively move towards a goal / job / career.

    Thanks for making me think about this again.

    Thomas

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  2. Wonderful thoughts Katrina , thanks for sharing .

    On a similar note , an analogy that I use to self reflect is constantly ask this question ..."is what I did today was the highest expression of my talent?"
    i.e. is my trajectory upwards ? not in terms of "the ladder" but in terms of the scale of (positive) impact that I am having on the people around me ,in terms of the complexity and authenticity of problems that I am solving for them ?
    I try and ask this question daily and if I see myself flatlining for several weeks on the trot , I feel that it is time to explore something fresh internally or externally :)

    Cheers
    Sunjeet


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