How To Find Fulfilling Work

How To Find Fulfilling Work

 

The idea that work might be fulfilling, rather than just painfully necessary, is a fairly modern concept. These days we don’t just expect to obtain money through our jobs, we also expect to find meaning and satisfaction. This helps to explain why we often have career crises, often on a Sunday evening!

To help us on the quest for fulfilling work, here are six useful ideas, which are explained in more detail in the video below…

  1. Accept that being confused is perfectly normal. It is estimated that there are currently around half a million different trades to choose from. Having so many options can make us so anxious about making the wrong choice that we make no choice at all. Confusion is natural and fear is normal.
  2. Know yourself. It’s one of the oldest philosophical recommendations and it has particular relevance for careers. Most of us don’t have a calling or hear a God-like voice telling us which career path to take. That isn’t to say that we don’t have tastes or inclinations, we just don’t know them well enough. Write down everything you’ve ever enjoyed doing or making with no considerations for money, and you’ll start to get an idea of your ideal working future.
  3. Think a lot. It could take a year or more of sustained daily reflection to identify a career that fits. We tend to feel guilty about this, imagining we are being self-indulgent. Far from it! We should take as much time as we need to sort out one of the biggest conundrums of our lives. To make sure we don’t continue to spend the rest of our lives trapped in a job unwittingly chosen for us by our unknowing 16 year-old selves, we need to be generous with the amount of time we’ll need to think.
  4. Try something. It’s tempting to imagine we’ll be able to work out the shape of the workplace and our own characters simply through the process of reflection, but we need data. We can only understand ourselves and others by colliding with the real world, in the process getting to know both it and our own natures. We need to take small non-irrevocable steps to gather information, whether by shadowing or interning or volunteering.
  5. Reflect on what makes people unhappy. Every successful business is, at heart, an attempt to solve someone else’s problem. The bigger and more urgent the problem, the greater the opportunity. To flex your entrepreneurial muscles, consider and average day and everything in it that might make someone unhappy – from losing the house keys to finding their food a little greasy to arguing with their spouse. Each of these is a business opportunity waiting to be exploited. It’s a chance for us to serve, which is what work really is.
  6. Be confident. It can be tempting to dismiss this whole topic as nonsense, but in a peculiar and rather humbling way it really does seem as though the difference between success and failure is sometimes nothing more than the courage to give it a go. Many of the top positions simply belong to those who boldly ask for them.

If you want to know more about how to get more out of a career at iwantmycareer.com we offer coaching sessions to give you the boost you need to get the career you deserve. To find out more, visit our services page.

What Is Your Salary Negotiation Style?

Negotiation FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image sourced from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many of us are underpaid simply because we don’t know how to handle the final stage of recruitment – salary negotiation. We want to try and help you with this, but first you need to know where you will probably go wrong when it comes to this last hurdle.

This short quiz we’ve adapted from Edinburgh Business School will allow you to identify whether you are a donkey, sheep, fox or owl. Write down your natural response to each question without skipping ahead to the answers.

The Questions

You subscribe to a service that your company pays for, which you rely on to do your job. However your boss threatens to stop the subscription to cut costs. Do you:

A. Offer to look at a cheaper package?

B. Warn your boss that essential business outcomes could be affected

without this subscription?

C. Suggest that you talk about why it has to be cut

D. Tell them “fine” but warn that you are paying a good rate, and may not get it back again if you want to re-subscribe later

You have been working on an important project with a colleague and the

deadline is fast approaching, but your colleague tells you that they are too busy to work on it with you anymore. Do you:

A. Suggest that you re-negotiate the amount of time your colleague puts into the project?

B. Ask your colleague what they’re working on and suggest that you could help each other?

C. Go above them and complain to senior management

D. Tell them that you are well aware of this ploy and that they won’t get away with it?

You are a package tour operator negotiating with a hotel chain on the terms for next season’s holiday bookings. The price they are asking per person per week in their hotels is $45 higher than your current offer. They offer to ‘split the difference’ 50–50. Do you:

A. Agree to their offer?

B. Say you can’t afford to split the difference?

C. Tell them it’s non-negotiable

D. Agree, if it is 75–25 in your favour?

You have been working only three weeks in a new job and had planned

to get married on Friday 18 August (which you did not disclose at the job interview). Your ‘intended’ spouse expects a proper honeymoon vacation of at least a week in Bermuda. It’s now 16 August and you ask your boss for leave for the wedding day and for the vacation. She is visibly not happy with your request and asks stiffly how long you were ‘thinking of being absent’. Do you reply:

A. The wedding day only?

B. This wouldn’t happen – I would have disclosed it

C. 3 days?

D. Two weeks?

Your Result

Mostly As: You are a sheep. You believe that whatever you get is acceptable and will probably be grateful for whatever salary you are offered. You don’t desire to (or even know how to) fight for your own interests and are therefore likely to be underpaid. It’s wise to value your relationship with your prospective employer but not above the outcome of a salary negotiation. Remember you have bills to pay! Consider asking for what you deserve and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Mostly Bs: You are an owl. Wise enough to spot the long term benefits of building a good relationship with your prospective employer whilst looking after your own interests, you are always aware and prepared for the opportunities and threats provided by a salary negotiation. Research is your middle name and you always enter salary negotiations armed with the information you will need to succeed. You have a healthy respect for prospective employers as well as yourself and you are fair, which earns you trust. Remain an owl and you will do well, just be careful not to stray into fox territory.

Mostly Cs: You are a donkey. This means you often can’t see what you could gain from negotiating your salary. Are you perhaps a little stubborn sometimes? You are likely to take an approximate wage on a job description as the final sum, and make a decision whether or not to apply based on that alone. Take more time to research industries, ask questions and consider what salary or non-cash elements you would settle for. Remember – salaries and benefits are usually negotiable.

Mostly Ds: You are a fox. Cunning and ruthless, you believe that you deserve whatever salary you demand and will probably take as much as you can get. You are likely to lose yourself in the excitement of the negotiation process instead of considering what an employer might stretch to and what you would actually accept. You are incredibly pragmatic and confident, but sometimes you only succeed because of quick-wittedness and over-promising. When this happens your success is often short-lived, so it would be wise to learn the value of building trust and mutual respect with your employer from the beginning by driving for a win-win negotiation outcome.

The Answers

You subscribe to a service that your company pays for, which you rely on to do your job. However your boss threatens to stop the subscription to cut costs. Do you:

A. Offer to look at a cheaper package?

Now that is an invitation, isn’t it? You should feel sheepish because you may well have been tricked into a panic price cut.

B. Warn your boss that essential business outcomes could be affected without this subscription?

Much better. Owls need information before they react to possible ploys. Comments like this are more appropriate and would encourage your boss to evaluate the situation against business goals.

C. Suggest that you talk about why it has to be cut

Sounds like a case of sour grapes, doesn’t it?

D. ‘Tell them “fine” but warn that you are paying a good rate, and may not get it back again if you want to re-subscribe later

A clever fox is trying to call their bluff! This is a dangerous tactic if your boss stops the subscription anyway, as you may never get it back.

You have been working on an important project with a colleague and the deadline is fast approaching, but your colleague tells you that they are too busy to work on it with you anymore. Do you:

A. Suggest that you re-negotiate the amount of time your colleague puts into the project?

Sheepishly hasty, even if you need to meet a deadline. You have let your colleague get away with it!

B. Ask your colleague what they’re working on and suggest that you could help each other?

Owls collect all the information available before they act or suggest solutions. By asking your colleague what they are working on, your are discovering whether or not they are telling the truth about being busy.

C. Go above them and complain to senior management

If you want to maintain a good relationship with your colleague, this is not the best way to solve the issue as it will make them feel undermined. Use this as a last resort.

D. Tell them that you are well aware of this ploy and that they won’t get away with it?

Very clever of you to spot their ploy to get out of working with you, but threatening them won’t help to resolve the issue.

You are a package tour operator negotiating with a hotel chain on the terms for next season’s holiday bookings. The price they are asking per person per week in their hotels is $45 higher than your current offer. They offer to ‘split the difference’ 50–50. Do you:

A. Agree to their offer?

Never. If you show negotiators that you practise ‘split the difference’ compromises they will give you bigger and bigger differences to split.

B. Say you can’t afford to split the difference?

By far the negotiator’s best owl-like move. Why should you split the difference, whether you can afford it or not? By making this offer they expose that their price is padded by at least $22.50 a person (and probably much more). Conceding to split the difference on $45 on 10 000 holiday weeks costs you about $225 000. Does this compromise look so equitable when grossed up?

C. Tell them it’s non-negotiable

Newsflash! You are currently in a negotiation – that’s what we’re doing here.

D. Agree, if it is 75–25 in your favour?

This is definitely better than agreeing to the offer and quite a reasonable offer for a fox. A possible move for an owl much later, after you have tested the padding.

You have been working only three weeks in a new job and had planned to get married on Friday 18 August (which you did not disclose at the job interview). Your ‘intended’ spouse expects a proper honeymoon vacation of at least a week in Bermuda. It’s now 16 August and you ask your boss for leave for the wedding day and for the vacation. She is visibly not happy with your request and asks stiffly how long you were ‘thinking of being absent’. Do you reply:

A. The wedding day only?

No. An abject surrender which you will spend the rest of your married life sheepishly trying to justify to your partner.

B. This wouldn’t happen – I would have disclosed it

An owl would never start a new job without previously giving details of any booked holiday, especially so close to the start date. You can be smug.

C. Three days?

That’s just weak.

D. Two weeks?

Good. Start

boldly and work down if you have to. Your boss will respect your courageous assertiveness eventually. A move for clever foxes.

Next week on the blog we will be diving into how to calculate your salary expectations. We’ll be sharing advice and guidance to get you feeling ready to answer that dreaded question about your salary expectations.

Want to know more? Sign up to the pro plan at iwantmycareer.com for just $9.99 per month for painless career development to bring your career to life.

The Secret To A Great Visual CV

Infographic Free Digital Photos

Image sourced from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Visual design is a great way to differentiate yourself from other job candidates and it helps you to communicate your personal brand. All of us (yes, even recruiters) respond to visual storytelling and images rarely fail to grab our attention.

Remember your cv is not just a formality, it’s an important marketing document designed to convince a recruiter to buy into you, give you an interview, and eventually offer you a job. Here’s a few tips and tricks to help you get yourself in the “yes” pile with clever design.

Put Yourself Into Your CV

A creative cv that communicates your values, personality and potential allows recruiters see who you are before they meet you. Inject it with your personality in a way that tells a story and makes your experience stand out. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t

an advertising creative or a graphic designer. A well designed cv can highlight strengths such as marketing and branding expertise, writing skills, your presentation savvy, and/or

your knowledge of social media trends.

Promote Key Points

Pull out the sections of your cv you want recruiters to notice, and make them stand out. For example, if you have a great career history you could consider using a timeline to show it off. If you have some good testimonials, promote them as quotes. Consider using a headline drawing attention to your USPs. If you have any achievements based on statistics, there is a lot you can do to highlight these with design.

Don’t Exceed Your Limits

If design is not one of your strengths, do not attempt to do it yourself. A badly designed cv will do more harm than one without any visual design at all! Get someone to do it for you, as it’s worth the investment. Take a look at our own cv design service.

Know Your Industry

Are you applying for marketing or advertising roles? If so, you can afford to go all out. Are you applying for a role in engineering or childcare? If so, you may wish to calm it down a bit. The trick is to know what

you’re up against – b e original for the industry you are applying in, but don’t overdo it. A caravan might seem impressive amongst tents, but insignificant amongst castles.

Keep Multiple Versions

It’s good practice to have multiple versions of your cv anyway, but particularly if you are using a visual cv. Always keep a traditional cv as a backup, particularly if you are applying for jobs online. There is no harm in sending both as recruiters will appreciate you trying to make their lives easier.

Share Share Share

Once you have a creative visual cv, send it to everyone you know. It will no doubt be a novelty to many of your contacts, and they may even pass it on if they are really impressed. Use it as a conversation starter with new contacts and give copies to your friends and family.

Want to know more? Sign up to the pro plan at iwantmycareer.com for just $9.99 per month for painless career development to bring your career to life.

How to break into the hidden job market using your network

Did you know that only around 10% of jobs are advertised? Most recruiting takes place through professional networks, which is why we call it the hidden job market.

The Hiring Pyramid

When filling vacancies, most employers use a pyramid structure – whether they realise it or not. Employers start at the bottom of the pyramid and work upwards, whereas job seekers start at the top of the pyramid and move downwards.

Therefore employers and job seekers are literally working in reverse of each other. To access the hidden job network, you need to start thinking the way an employer would think and work up the pyramid. In short, you need to start using your networks!

The Hiring PyramidIsn’t networking just handing out business cards?

Far from it! Networking is not just about meeting new people. It’s about using the people you already know, but have not yet been utilising to get to where you want to be. You need to unlock the opportunities already available to you through the people you already know.

This is useful not just for finding work, but for finding information and help whenever you need it. Start thinking about who your existing contacts are. Who do you already work with who could help with your professional development? Who have you worked with before? Who do you know outside of your company? Start working up the pyramid.

What do you have to offer?

You know what you want to achieve and you now have a list of contacts, but you need to also be clear what you have to offer your network. What problems do you solve for employers or clients and what value can you create?

It’s helpful to write a short statement outlining all of the above to use on your profiles online and as an opening statement for conversations or emails.

Expand Your Horizons

It’s time to start chatting to people. Expanding your horizons is not just about meeting new people, it’s also about asking new questions and using new platforms. There is usually a lot to be discovered about people you already know, and many new opportunities to be found through people they know.

The Internet is brimming with forums and groups of influencers and potential new contacts, so this is a good place to start. You can also use your private network to help you – you may discover that a family member you would never have thought of asking can help you. Look at local trade events and career fairs to attend, as these can be great for starting conversations. Remember to ask questions and be curious about the people you meet, as this is the best way to begin meaningful relationships.

We recently held a free webinar on this subject and you can watch the replay by clicking here. Do you have a question? Please add a comment below.

Want to know more? Sign up to the pro plan at iwantmycareer.com for just $9.99 per month for painless career development to bring your career to life.
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