You might wonder why I have chosen the topic career this week. It’s quite simple: our work plays a major role in our well-being. In best cases, it gives us a sense of achievement and a feeling of self-efficacy. It challenges and encourages us, matches our talents and values and gives us meaning.
All this leads to satisfaction, balance and motivation.
What is missing when there is no work is probably painfully obvious to some of us at the moment. And the economic forecasts that are currently communicated do not inspire much confidence.
So what’s the point of a career at a time when unemployment rates are making headlines?
Nobody knows what the future will look like. But one thing is clear: the more aware you are of yourself, of your USPs, of your contribution and your goals – and how your can get closer to achieving them, the faster and better you will find a (your) place in the new reality.
“If we are only concerned with what skills are important today, tomorrow we will be equipped with the skills of yesterday.”
So now is the best time to do some kind of job inventory.
This includes finding answers to various questions, such as “What role does work play in my life?”, “What am I particularly good at?”, “What would I like to say goodbye to?”, “What is important to me?”, “What makes me happy?”, “What would I like to look back on in the end?” or “In what working environment do I feel comfortable?”.
You can use your time as well to take a closer look at your professional network and to expand it if necessary. No one is successful alone – and the more diverse your network is, the more valuable for your professional development.
Have a look at your contacts to see if there are people who fit into one or more of the categories listed below.
Best take a piece of paper and write down the names of the people you would assign to each category. This way you will quickly get a clear picture of the development opportunities of your network.
Before you get in contact with your career supporters you should already have gained clarity about yourself and your goals. In order to better explain the different roles people play in your network, let’s assume that you want to be successful as a cook/chef.
Coaches: Are not experts in your desired field – but pros in asking the right questions at the right time. You call on their support case by case – for example, if you turn in circles or doubt yourself. A good coach has a wide range of methods and helps you to find the answer to your questions or the next step yourself. He/she stimulates your self-reflection and thus helps you to help yourself. A connection to a coach is usually solution and performance oriented.
Mentors: Are usually more experienced than you in the field you are interested in. Above all, they are experts in important, transferable skills (soft skills). They have the ability to guide, advise, encourage and hold you responsible. They know you well and understand you, your motivations and possible pitfalls on your way. A connection to a mentor is relationship-based and often lasts for a lifetime.
Sponsors: Maybe you are thinking of advertising now? And you are not that wrong! Sponsors are facilitators and enablers. They share their knowledge, create connections, make you known amongst the “right” people and offer opportunities. The sponsor is not the celebrity chef but the person who owns the restaurant or hotel where the celebrity chef can grow and create.
Professors: : The experts of theory. They are walking encyclopedias in their field, love their area of expertise and challenge you to keep you up to date by continuous learning. They are your teachers.
Professionals: They are your shining role model – they are in that spot you aspire for your future! It is the celebrity chef who is a master in putting their competence into practice – with a personal touch. What you can learn: how to successfully apply the knowledge of the professors- and develop your own brand. Professionals are experienced, they know and continuously study their competitors and the market – and learn from it.
Peers: Current or future ones. They are where you are now or where you would be next. They can either provide you with valuable feedback on your strengths and areas of development as well as your professional self and your impact on others. Or they are the ones you can ask how your future work will look and feel – e.g. in different kitchens (star restaurants, canteen, hotel, hospital …).
Good friends: They know you personally and share your values. They know your deeper motives and obstacles – and dare to talk straight and give you honest feedback.
So, what does your list look like?
Who would you like to contact in the coming week?
Good luck with the network for success!