Does 8 Hours Behind a Desk Fit into Your Career Management Plan?
No one can be certain what cubicle work life would be like in 100 years, but one thing is a given, we won’t exist. Unless of course we freeze ourselves like in Wayward Pines and unfreeze in 100.
How would it change? People would still be tied to their desks (given that drones don’t steal them already) for at least 8 hours per day while the sun is shining bright outside.
Do you want to be in the driver or passenger seat?
Many of us simply sit back and live life completely by chance, automated without second guessing our purpose, what we truly want out of life, our strengths, nor how we ideally would want to spend our time. What do we do?
We roam through life like zombies on autopilot. Is it the water? Is it our culture? Is it from watching way too much Walking Dead? Who knows, but are you going to stay on the sideline or be boss.
Will Hillary be president? Will Trump be president? Who cares? No matter who gets elected our life and the decisions we make are completely up to us, not the president, not Congress, just us….period! Now you do not have to be a new age entrepreneur or business owner to be one, but to be in control of your destiny you do.
To be the boss instead of a cubicle by stander, we need to:
1. Understand the rules
2. Have viable skills
3. Be well networked
4. Make your successes contagious
5. Have high AQ (different than EQ)
6. Fit organizational culture
7. Understand yourself
8. Have positive self-perception
Near the end of this article, you will find important information about 3 tests. The tests could have a tremeandous impact on your future, so please stay tuned…
Understand the Rules of the Game
When understanding the rules of the game in your office, one thing is inevitable, they are everywhere and you cannot escape it. Trust me in the past I also made this mistake ,and believed that I had enough talent and skill to get around this. Guess what? I don’t. We don’t! The rules themselves take on a life of its own and you can either play them or get the hell out of the kitchen.
Why Do They Exist
It is a long established tradition used to find out who’s on the team and who is not. Who’s on board? I am not trying to say the rules are fair, but they are consistent. This means it is just a matter of time until you will be able to crack the code if you want to. If the rules do not align with your core values then maybe it is time for a change. When you work for a company where your values are not align and you perform tasks that go against them, it can cause dissonance, which is bad for your mental and physical health. Checkout Business Insiders published article on this subject. It shows some examples of these unwritten rules that remain in organizations today.
We must have skills to get noticed in such a crowded market place. We need skills that upper management (or customers) will find useful enough to make their job easier. They do not care about you. They care about what you are capable of doing for them. You need minimum viable skills, which are the minimum skill level necessary to get promoted in your industry.
Be Well Networked
I am sure you have heard the phrase, “it is not what you know, but who you know”. This statement holds some truth, but we of course cannot be ignoramuses. We also need to have minimum viable knowledge. This is the lowest level of knowledge needed to make it to the next level. This knowledge is usually not technical in nature, but more of a zoomed out (melee view) of our organization. It proves our understanding of the big picture and vision of our organization. Networking creates new refreshing opportunities for your career. Networking is natural to some and not to others. For myself, networking never came naturally and in fact I pretty much suck at it, but I know how important this skills is, so I work on it religiously.
Make Your Successes Contagious
This is where having knowledge of marketing really comes in handy. The key here is to point out your accomplishments to decision makers when possible without coming off as a pest or as a needy brat. It could be anything from a project you lead or a creative idea that you helped bring to fruition. It is a delicate mix of shameless self-promotion, being pleasant to be around, as well as being sociable. It is also good whenever possible to involve influential people when you are promoting your idea. You want them to feel connected and committed to the idea as if it was there own. These influencers can greatly help you further promote your ideas, giving you and your ideas more credibility.
High AQ (not to be confused with EQ)
According to Peaklearning.com, Adversity Quotient (AQ) is the measurement of human resilience. In other words your ability to deal with struggles in life. It would be our ability to handle failures, get punched in the face while still moving forward! I do not know of any quantifiable ways to measure this, but this concept is something we should have in our arsenal and be mindful of.
Toughen up, because it is a rough world out there and if you are already tough, then stay tough. If you are not, then get tough. Having a career management plan with no AQ is pointless! If you hit a wall and end up reacting by going completely off course then you will not be able to maintain your path. Whether it is a career, freelance, or entrepreneurial path you need to stay consistent.
Solutions for Low AQ
The greatest solutions for low IQ is deep breathing or meditation (non-religious). I am sure you have heard it time and time again about meditation hype, but it is real. It helps to clear and reset your mind. According to Dr. Davidson it helps improve recovery from adverse events. 10 minutes a day is all you need. Check out this youtube video on it here
Do you fit in with the culture of your organization? If not you could be wasting your time. Do you even like the people you work with or what you do? In the next section you will learn about how to discover what you are best and what you should be doing.
Know Thyself: Flow Tests
What is flow?
Flow is complete immersion into an experience where play is work and work is play.
You flow, where thoughts and actions merge so smoothly and there are no mental distractions or barriers to progress.
You are challenged while engaged. After you triumph, you seek out more challenges in this arena while still being engaged. Then you conquer and look for the next challenge.
Your interests and skills align perfectly with the activity and time flys by! 10 hours feels like 10 minutes. You are much more likely to be successful in anything you do if it promotes the flow state within you on a regular basis.
What is your personality, and how do you naturally interact with others?
If you don’t know try:
Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
One of the most popular personality tests is from one of the founding fathers of modern psychology, Carl Jung.
Carl Jung founded the theories and principle for which this test was based on back in 1921 and it is still used today.
Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myer, converted Jung’s theories into the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, also known as MBTI.
The results of this test can be 1 of 16 personality types based on:
- Where you find your energy and how you recover (extraversion vs. introversion).
- Your preference on gathering information (intuition vs. sensing).
- Process you use to make your decisions (feeling vs. thinking).
- How your decisions are structured (judging vs. perceiving).
This test will generally help us understand where we get our energy from, how we recover, and how we think and make decisions.
If you are an introvert, you get your energy from being alone. If you are an extrovert then you get your energy from being around others.
I used it and I found it very helpful in my career pursuits.
So what does this test cost?
There are many institutions and websites that offer this at a price. You can take the shorter version of this test in 4 simple questions here
You can also do the paid version at truity.com
The key takeaway from this test is knowing whether you are more productive solo or with others. Understanding this can help you better understand what types of projects are best.
What are your natural skills and abilities?
If you don’t know try:
This was originally developed by the father of strengths psychology, Donald Clifton.
The core purpose of this test is to find what our natural strengths are. Of course we have our weaknesses, but this test is designed to find our strengths. Then we can build upon them instead of stressing over our weaknesses and trying to improve those.
As Tom Rath said “We were tired of living in a world that revolved around fixing our weaknesses [and …] we had discovered that people have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.”
This test identifies 34 core strengths in 4 areas, which are:
4. Building, and
5. Strategic Thinking.
This test does cost money, but I highly recommend it and believe the low price of $15 is well worth it.
My strengths are:
Ideation, Relator, Achiever, Connectedness, and Individualization. What I saw at first shocked me, since I was expecting different core strengths to pop up.
After I read what they were and pondered on them while reliving past experiences, I found these to be quite accurate.
How do you naturally solve problems?
Kolbe A Index Test
This test focuses on conative strengths. These are our natural creative instincts on how we solve problems and arrive at a solution. Different people solve problems differently and knowing this can help improve our team environments. This helps people and businesses understand how to better form teams too.
This test focuses on four dimensions which are:
- Follow Thru
- Quick Start
For me my highest score was by far in the “Quick Start” category, which refers to your ability to take risk.
For me I scored high in this category. This means my instincts lead me to take action quickly when solving problems.
I felt this test was accurate in analyzing my problem solving style.
This test costs around 50 dollars to take. Any test that can give you a better understanding of yourself is truly worth it. I hope you take this life changing test.
You can take this test at:
How you would like to reinvent yourself and your career path?
These tests will help you better understand what direction you should be heading.
For instance…if you turned out to have:
Personality: Perceptive Introvert
Strengths: Discipline, Self Assurance, Adaptability, and Strategic
Problem Solving Style: High Quick Start (high adversity to risk)
If this were the case, perhaps a freelancer, as opposed to a project manager or even a team lead would make sense.
Positive Self Perception
The importance of self perception is key to selling yourself in today’s job market. This determines your self esteem and also how you view your own accomplishments. Were you just a trash-man or a sanitary engineer? My bet would be the applicant that views him or herself as the sanitary engineer gets the job.
Create your career pitch. This is similar to what is widely known as the “Elevator Pitch”, however it is geared towards your career and includes elements of your top strengths and skills. Develop one and practice it, so when people say “What do you do?”, you will have a strong reply to that age old yet annoying question. You just never know the person asking the question could be an important future employer or even client. According to idealistcareers.org there are 4 questions you should ask in order to create it.
Question 1: What do you do…well? (Skills)
Question 2: What is your greatest strength in this area OR the best compliment you’ve ever received about your skill? (Confidence)
Question 3: What would you like to do? (Goal)
Question 4: What’s your “why?” (Motivation)
Some of us may have just one of these or none of these career areas handled. That’s OK! Many don’t. These are easy to learn and you can have it much faster than you might believe.
Do you have a career management plan? Do you prefer to be a freelancer or entrepreneurial business owner? Either way it is important to learn the road map of success and be reminded of it.
Would you prefer to learn how to:
Go from hourly to a salary job?
Go from a private sector to federal government job?
Transition from a corporate to freelance position?
Start a business that works for you?
Let us know!
Click Here To Get Your Free Roadmap and Go From Cubicle to Boss
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