CAREER FOCUS BEGINS WITH THIS

There's a notion that finding happiness in your career is about quitting your current crappy sitch and move swiftly into a new scene with new people. That should fix everything right? It should magically solve all of your problems? Sadly almost all career seekers end up hopping out of one car, only to jump on a bus that's on the same bumpy road. Different group of passengers, new driver, a slightly different journey BUT it all becomes a little same, same... 

Now, I will preclude this blog by saying that if you're moving to learn, remove yourself from a toxic team environment, challenge yourself and actively pursue opportunities to help you grow, go for it! I'm all for career movement. And if you're worried about having too much movement on your resume don't worry. I spoke about messy careers here with Adam from The Subtle Disruptors podcast. What I'll be focusing on today is moving jobs with your wellbeing and happiness in mind. So let's get stuck into it! 

How does career wellbeing link to happiness? 

I created the 7 Day Challenge for career wellbeing to help me reset and refocus my own mind because I was feeling a little unsettled about my own career this past week. Don't get me wrong - I'm loving life, loving what I get to do for a living everyday. This unsettled feeling wasn't so much about career satisfaction, but more about focusing on what opportunities I should and shouldn't take. 

There's been some big things coming my way in the last few months and career wise, some of those options would have propelled me in very different directions. Each day I found myself battling ideas and ways to get around these (I wanted to pursue them all!). Conversations with my hubby were consumed with 'what ifs' and 'should I's'. I was exhausted mentally! For those of you who know Sagittarians, we can be extremely excitable souls and we can find it difficult to say 'no' to collaboration opportunities that come our way. 

My business coach and I have been focusing on my uncanny ability to get distracted ;) I knew he would be the perfect match for me when he told me in our first hour together that I need to focus. Since then I've made a conscious decision to keep on track. It does sound a lot easier that it reads! So herein lies the idea of a 7 DAY CHALLENGE. I put this together to firstly test the theory. 7 days to keep focused, find discipline and concentrate on themes to help me find clarity in my career. Does this sound like just what the career coach ordered?  Well, here it is! 

Sign up for the challenge here if you're seeking focus, a little discipline and clarity of mind. 

YOU AND I ARE GOING TO GET REAL ABOUT YOUR CAREER FOCUS

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Since being through the 7 days I've learnt that discipline is not my middle name. Between day 1-3, it was pretty dang hard for me to focus in a 10 minute meditation session, I made excuses to skip a morning of yoga or my run and thought, well I can always start again tomorrow. I pushed through, and I'll be here now to push you through with daily motivational emails, check ins and accountability. 

Post day 3, I started to realise the benefits of the mindfulness sessions. I was actually looking for an excuse to spend 10 mins in my own head and block out the noise from the day. I found I was keeping to my promise of 10 mins of active movement a day and journaled to daily themes. Decisions were a lot easier to make, and I found myself actually saying 'no' to opportunities that didn't align with my focus. 

Career distractions can come in a few forms and elevates emotionally as anxiety, fear, happiness or frustrations. Fear for example is actually a hero in disguise - it can help you realise why you're scared, and help you propel into a new careersphere or stop you from getting to your dreams. 

So if you're ready for 7 days of career wellness and ready for some focus on what makes you happy, here's what we'll be working through together:

  • Day 1: Be a Blank Canvas 
  • Day 2: Gratefulness
  • Day 3: Dreamy Outcomes 
  • Day 4: Mind Blockers
  • Day 5: Fears
  • Day 6: Happiness 
  • Day 7: New Beginnings 

I've prepared a journal/ workbook too ready for you once you sign in. It's the same journal and questions I used to help me focus and capture thoughts from the day. 

Watch this video here - a capture of my final day of the 7 day challenge: 

To sign up for the 7 day career challenge and join in with the 100's who already have, click here to start today. I've also created a private Facebook group here where we can share our journey together as a career focused community. See you on the inside- I cannot wait!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ruby thrives on helping people achieve a career filled with passion and purpose.

Her corporate background in accounting, HR and recruitment led her to starting her first side-hustle, a career coaching business called The Careers Emporium

She soon caught the entrepreneur's bug and founded Tribe9, a business dedicated to helping startups recruit their first employee and beyond.

Running two businesses whilst working as Head Of Recruitment at a software company built her the reputation as the Side-Hustle Empress. This is when Ruby turned her side-hustles into her main hustles, and started rubylee.co, a business dedicated to empowering side-hustlers.

Ruby is an experienced speaker, facilitator and blogger and believes that everyone should have a career portfolio with multiple income streams, whether that be through multiple employers, side-hustles or both.

WHY CAREER SATISFACTION BEGINS WITH SELF AWARENESS

THE CAREERS EMPORIUM

How well do you really know yourself?

Self awareness is one of those topics in career related discussions that often gets mistaken for the feedback you receive from your manager or peers. Yes, it's certainly one form of getting to know yourself a little better but it's not the full picture. Becoming self-aware is much, much more than just receiving feedback.

If I were to ask you how others at work perceive you, would you be able to answer it truthfully and honestly? Funnily enough, it's the one question that stumps a lot of the people I interview. Some get shy, others feel defensive and most times I get generic answers like "hard worker". That may certainly be the case but being self aware will help you articulate your strengths, environments you enjoy working in and what gets the best out of you. How many of you have been asked this question only to realise you have no effin' clue! 

I've been thinking about how to help all of you get a little more self awareness into your life. So I tested a bunch of methods to finally land on this one! Self awareness starts with self assessment. It's the first step in career planning and is a hugely valuable tool to drive career direction, perhaps a career pivot or leaning about your preferences that will get you feeling satisfied in your current job.

The ultimate career quiz

Not only are you incredibly unique but so are your motivations and career preferences. Let's take a moment to imagine the awesome conversations you could be having if you were able to clearly articulate your skills and what kind of behaviours drive you to perform at your best. Often when I'm coaching a client I recommend them to undertake a career quiz. One such quiz I use is known as The Birkman Method, which uses scientific data to explore five important areas of who you are. They are:

  1. Your interests. What you like and the activities you enjoy;
  2. Your strengths. How you relate to the world and how others perceive you;
  3. Your motivations. What kind of supportive environment you seek from others;
  4. What stresses you out. The behaviour you lean on when you're not feeling it; and
  5. Your ideal work environment. The environment that offers the best fit for you.

Once we explore these 5 areas, the report will then generate a list of potential job families and job titles suited for you to explore! Perhaps ones you've never thought of before!

If you're able to already articulate the above, that's amazing! Let's talk about how to piece together these clues to get you your perfect job.  

Reflection

Often even a scientifically backed test can't give you all the answers. Being the complicated creatures that we are, there are layers (like an onion) to peel back to really understand how our interests, strengths, motivations, stresses and work environment interweave to make up your dream career path. 

Take the results of your career quiz and read them over a few times and discuss them with a career coach you trust or some objective peers in your life. If you already have a good sense of your preferences, check in with them! 

It's important to reflect on some of the areas that surprise you and tease out which parts you don't agree with. In any self awareness exercise discovering your profile should be backed with some affirmations. 

  • what are your strong points?
  • what are the potential blind spots that you didn't know you had?
  • what would you like to stop doing?
  • what are you going to start doing differently?
  • what are you going to continue to do?

It's important to remember that our preferences, styles and behaviours are really mouldable and can shift over time. I found the biggest shift for me was around my thinking style. In meeting new people I began to shift away from following certain guidelines to challenging them and asking 'why' much more. Perhaps you can relate too? You rebel you...

Unpacking your awareness

With all of this new found self awareness in mind, there's no actual value in it unless you can take some affirmative action.

In discovering or reconnecting your interests, perhaps it's time take up that hobby you always wanted to try! Take those singing lessons or sign up for a yoga class. Whilst these interests may not directly relate to making ship loads of money, you'll be finding a path that will help you bolster a successful career with a satisfying lifestyle. 

Finding better ways to relate to others and identifying their strengths will change your perception of your team and the leaders you work around. Maybe you've been feeling frustrated at work, and now you're able to identify exactly why! A conflict of styles can often be resolved with some self awareness and helping others understand how you best work. For instance, my personal style is quite friendly, decisive and energetic and I can find it difficult to collaborate with individuals who are cautious and orderly. Since identifying this, I've been able to structure conversations and change my style to get the most of our collaboration! Can you relate?

Motivations are arguably the most important part to finding a career and employment environment that will help you thrive. For example, I prefer to have flexibility and undefined projects to work on. When I was last in an interview room I asked questions such as, "how dynamic is the working environment and how much freedom is there to make decisions without the red tape?"

Do you see how important self awareness is to find an employer of choice?

Understanding how you react under stress is like waking up in the morning and looking at your hungover state in the mirror - perhaps not the prettiest picture in the world! The negative behaviour that rears it's ugly head in stressful situations can cost you that next promotion and damage your personal brand. The moment that comes to my mind, is when one of my managers yelled at the team for a total of 30 seconds and stormed out the room like a child... the entire room burst out laughing and well, needless to say we all lost some respect for that manager that day. 

Finally, the best part to self awareness is choosing the best work environment for you. As you know it's my mission to get you to #lovemondays the way I do. Finding the ideal environment for you isn't so much about your physical surroundings (although working with a beach view is pretty sweet)... instead it's more about your employer's culture. Do they have flexible rules? Are they collaborators?  Are they stable? Do they allow you to have a side hustle? All of these make up elements of the right place for you and where you can see yourself feeling most at home. 

So how are you feeling about your own self-awareness? Are you ready to dive into getting to know yourself a little better? Are you ready to find the map and stop feeling lost in your career? Self assessment is the very first step and I'll be there every other step of the way..

So come on! Let's do this, join me now and get started on your career quiz today. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ruby thrives on helping people achieve a career filled with passion and purpose.

Her corporate background in accounting, HR and recruitment led her to starting her first side-hustle, a career coaching business called The Careers Emporium

She soon caught the entrepreneur's bug and founded Tribe9, a business dedicated to helping startups recruit their first employee and beyond.

Running two businesses whilst working as Head Of Recruitment at a software company built her the reputation as the Side-Hustle Empress. This is when Ruby turned her side-hustles into her main hustles, and started rubylee.co, a business dedicated to empowering side-hustlers.

Ruby is an experienced speaker, facilitator and blogger and believes that everyone should have a career portfolio with multiple income streams, whether that be through multiple employers, side-hustles or both.

WHAT IS YOUR MEASURE OF SUCCESS? MONEY OR HAPPINESS?

THE CAREERS EMPORIUM

I was told matter of factly this week that “the more I get paid, the more happiness my employer is entitled to take from me”.

This got me thinking, how many of you actually feel like this after accepting a big promotion or step up? Do you believe the more you're paid, the more stress and unhappiness you'll be exposed to?

Growth In Your Career Growth In Your Stress

I've shared my personal career journey where I took a significant pay cut to switch careers. This wasn’t something that was easy. It actually meant I had to sacrifice on quite a bit financially but you know what?... I was HAPPY. 

What sacrifices I hear you ask? Well, not only did my financial situation shift a lot, I had to sacrifice my time to study a Masters In HR and I couldn’t hang with my family and friends as much. But I was so energised and determined to get my career on a path I believed in and I had to keep reminding myself that these sacrifices were only short term. Best of all, I loved Mondays again because I was so energised and pumped for a new week in a career where deep down I knew I belong.

The beauty of all this was that I began to feel successful again. I was in control and following my #ownyourcareer mantra.

SUCCESS FEEDS OFF HAPPINESS

The people around me began to see how happy I was. The enthusiasm for my new role began to opened up doors for me and within 6 months I was receiving recognition from my managers and peers, I was receiving company awards and was offered and encouraged to apply for more senior roles.

My happiness led me to success, and as a secondary result more money!

It’s a fact that the more money you make in corporate world often means a higher expectation of the employer to perform. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this notion. What I am encouraging you to think about is, how much of this extra responsibility is energising you? The pressure you're facing should also be getting you excited to face the challenges rather than feel miserable, stressed and at a loss. 

We’ve been conditioned to think that the more money you earn, the more successful you must be. I once believed this but now I use a different measure – my level of happiness.

I used to measure my success by the number of promotions and pay rises I got. Now it is based on performing meaningful and fulfilling work.

Too many people are staying in jobs that they don’t like for the money and are miserable doing it.

I want to emphasise that working in a job that you love will instantly reduce the bad stress you place on yourself. I get that not everything that interests you can be turned into a career. I’m talking about striking a balance. So I encourage you to chase your dream career with your dream employer. And before you give me a reason that you can’t, here is my retort to your reasons:

Money always seems to be the big fat blocker. Us humans aren’t wired to enjoy going backwards. Moving forward is an integral part of what makes us function and this applies to money, finances and livelihood. But let’s flip that mindset. Let’s aim for your happiness to be the metric of your success. If your happiness, your job satisfaction, the feeling of being fulfilled in your career goes upwards then success will follow. I fully understand that as you get older you are more likely to be tied into larger financial commitments such as a mortgage, carer costs and school fees, and this makes a career change seem all the more risky. So there may be the sacrifice of some of your favourite indulgences in the short term and take the time to budget.

Risk. Take smaller steps towards your dream career. So for example, a lot of workplaces encourage you to work in different teams or functions of their business. Why not ask how you can transfer to the team that you want to work in? In quite a few cases I’ve seen employers help by ensuring you won’t have to go backwards in pay. Your sacrifice is that you may not be in line for a pay rise for that year, but a small sacrifice to getting your career on track.  My point is that it’s never too late to start exploring potential options.

Age. You’re never too old to have a career change and start something you love doing. Colonel Sanders opened his first KFC in his 60’s. Before that he worked in insurance, with steam engines and as a service station attendant. If you have the fire in your belly then age doesn’t matter. So start that little online shop you’ve been meaning to or do that bookkeeping course on the weekends. Age is not a barrier.

Fear of change is a legitimate thing. The uncertainty, unknown and what ifs can get to the best of us. I get it – a career change can be scary. Determine what the basis of your fear is. Fear, pride, family opinion… name it, face it and talk to people about it. Once you discover what the source of your fear is, you can take action to alleviate it.

"Whatever your fear is, you will be amazed by the support you will get when you do decide to change."

Friends, family, whoever it is, will want you to succeed and will help if you ask. But you will find some people who won’t understand why you want a career change. Don’t worry about what they think, it’s not for them to understand. Only worry about what you think, it’s your life, your decision and if you really want it to work then you will put the effort in to make it work.

Ask yourself this - what is the worst thing that can happen? If you give this some sensible thought, you will probably realise that the worst isn’t as bad as you think.

I also recommend for you to do your research. Ask your network about certain companies or industries you’re interested in. Talk to recruiters to get sense of the job market, what are the challenges are your targeted employers facing, where can you slot in.

"Use fear as motivation to succeed."

When I changed careers all those years ago I never thought my life would look like it does today. Starting a careers blog and coaching business is the next evolution to my journey and who knows what I’ll be doing in the future. 

In my time coaching and helping individuals find career direction I stop to ask myself, what’s my measure of success? Well happiness of course! It’s not about clicking your red heels together, closing your eyes and dreaming of your destination - I wish! Instead it’s about a bit of soul-searching on what you really want out of life, planning well and speaking with your support network – perhaps we need a chat?

If money truly makes you happy, then bravo to you. But if you’re making more money and you’re not getting any happier, well something needs to be done. Otherwise you could completely stress out, burn out and hurt your mental health. Life is short, do something you love!

So, what’s your measure of success at the moment? Money or Happiness.

To start today jump into my Own Your Hustle group for some great tips and a like minded tribe. Then if you really want to learn what your career path should be and how you can make your dream career a reality, check out my online courses

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

THE CAREERS EMPORIUM

Ruby thrives on helping people achieve a career filled with passion and purpose.

Her corporate background in accounting, HR and recruitment led her to starting her first side-hustle, a career coaching business called The Careers Emporium

She soon caught the entrepreneur's bug and founded Tribe9, a business dedicated to helping startups recruit their first employee and beyond.

Running two businesses whilst working as Head Of Recruitment at a software company built her the reputation as the Side-Hustle Empress. This is when Ruby turned her side-hustles into her main hustles, and started rubylee.co, a business dedicated to empowering side-hustlers.

Ruby is an experienced speaker, facilitator and blogger and believes that everyone should have a career portfolio with multiple income streams, whether that be through multiple employers, side-hustles or both.