IF YOU have clarity about what you want and need in your life, you are more likely to get it. This is as true for your career as it is for other things in your life.
However, most people spend more time researching and evaluating a car purchase than they do on that very important thing in life — a career.
When it comes to your “life’s work”, you can significantly increase the odds of building a career you will love by taking a few simple factors into account.
These include being clear about what you want to do, where and with whom you want to do it, and what you want to get out of it as well as what you are willing to give up in return.
However, this is not the way most people approach their careers.
Unfortunately, many people don’t plan their careers — they just take jobs. And even when they do some planning, they base their decision on only one or two factors, when there are other equally important things to consider.
When asked about your particular job and career choice, it is likely that you respond with one or two of these statements:
“It’s a great place to work” (culture);
“The guy I’ll be working for seems really nice” (command);
“The people are fun” (comrades);
“The pay is really good” (compensation); or
“I’ll get to do what I want” (contribution).
The problem is, just one or two of these criteria are typically not enough to keep you excited about your choice, and soon you will find yourself not enjoying your work.
This is because although you love the pay, you find that your boss is a jerk, or you are not getting to do the tasks you enjoy, or something else you overlooked is now an issue.
You can avoid this problem by being clear about the five Cs of your career from the beginning. It is important to know what matters to you.
Here are some questions to consider:
In what kind of company do I want to work? Large or small? Public or privately owned? Nurturing environment or “sweat shop? Fun or serious?
For what type of boss/supervisor would I like to work? Warm and friendly or distant? Micro-manager or hands off? Dictator or leader?
With whom do I want to work? Team players or mavericks? Highly social or indifferent? Helpful and supportive? Shared work ethic?
What would I like my financial package and other “benefits” to be? How much money do I want to make? Do I want professional growth and development? Would I like to work on a commission basis? How important is recognition to me?
What would I like to give in my work? Do I need to make a difference in the world? Do I need to express myself creatively? Do I need to take on a lot of responsibility? Do I want to lead or manage people?
Get the most you can
The five Cs raise your awareness and ultimately improve your job satisfaction because you are more likely to be doing and experiencing what you love rather than taking what you can get.
Although you cannot control all these aspects of your career or the people in it, being clear will help you ask better questions and do better research as you evaluate your career.
The key is in getting the most you can, and also agreeing with yourself that what you are able to get is what you truly want.