This post must apply to at least some readers of my blog – if not a hefty proportion – given the hair-raising levels of employee turnover I’m hearing in certain quarters. Sure, there’ll be points in your career when it really is time to move on, but for your own sake let that be a very carefully considered decision. So how do you decide?
Try these ideas to help you get clear about what’s right for you. Take a few quiet moments, get pen and paper, or laptop / tablet and don’t edit or self-censor as you write. Just write. Or draw. Drawing’s good for this. Or make a vision board.
Describe a typical working day in your ideal job, from beginning to end. Where are you? What time do you start and how do you get there? For example, you might be on a plane flying off somewhere (which might sound glamorous to some; experience tells me it’s not so great the nth time round…), or you may be outdoors. Your ideal job might involve arriving at a plush corporate HQ – or it may be at a start-up where everyone sits on second-hand chairs. What are you wearing – the clothes you already have or something different?
Who are you working with – what kinds of people are they? Are you mostly working alone or with others? What’s taking up your time? Being with other people, discussing ideas and possibilities? Or analysing, reviewing and planning? Are you being creative – whatever that word means to you – using your head, hands or both?
Where do you have lunch; what is it and with whom do you eat? When and how does the working day typically end? Do you socialise with colleagues after work? Or head straight for home? Or have an evening spent catching up on email and talking to colleagues in other time zones (hey, you said you wanted that airplane thing…)? Or do you – gosh – spend your evening with loved ones? What do you do with whatever spare time you get? What interests, hobbies and passions do you pursue outside of work?
Note down all the things you are doing (note: first person, present tense) in this ideal job, and be sure to get this down in quite some level of detail.
- Keep this account of your ideal day in your ideal job with you as you go about your current job (you can keep a list on your phone, or a photo if you drew it or made a vision board)
- Each day, notice how many of the elements of your ideal job you’re doing in your current job.
- Each day, ask yourself how and when you can incorporate more elements of your ideal job into the one you have.
- Each day, notice how you’re choosing to spend your time when you’re not at work.
- You might just find that, with a few consistently applied tweaks, you’ve already got your ideal job. We have more ability to influence this than we often think.
You may also find this blog post useful: Tips for building your personal brand.
Dawn is the author of ‘How to be Zoomly at work’, available on Amazon.