Reimagine the Next Steps of Your Career

Spiral Stairs

We continue to develop over our lifetime.

Know your self and know the job before you make a move. Fit your personality to your next job for a great fit.



Still Growing!

Do you see yourself in the same job five years from now, satisfied and productive?  If so, that’s amazing!  Go You!  But if in your ideal future five years from now, you will be in a different position or at a different company or in a different career, read on.  

Everyone knows that children grow and develop.  And then, at some point, we say, “They’re all grown up!”  Perhaps that moment is age 18 or 21 or when they graduate from college, or get married or become a parent.  But whatever that age is, most of us live with this fallacy that we become An Adult at some point in time, and at that point we are done developing.  Don’t believe it!  

My first degree is in Human Development.  As a young college student, it was hard for me to grasp that I wasn’t already Fully Mature at the ripe old age of 21.  But now, with a few more decades on this earth, I have a deep appreciation for how humans do indeed keep on growing and developing throughout our lives.

So it really should come as no surprise that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people typically change jobs a dozen times or so during their working years. 

Our lives are so much richer when we embrace our continuing development and we use this as a basis for job or career change.  Just because you’ve been at your current job for 5, 10 or even 20 years does not mean that the best place for you in the next 5, 10 or 20 years is this same job–or even the same industry.  

If, in your best possible future, you imagine yourself doing something different five years from now, how do you get from here to there?  

To start this work, you need to know two basic things:

  1. Know yourself
  2. Know the business

Know Yourself

The first task in making a career move (whether internal or external) is to get really clear about yourself.  What are your current skills and attributes?  What excites you and what exhausts you? Why are you valued in your current job?

Perhaps journaling about these questions is exactly what you need to get some clarity about what will be important for you in the next five years.

If you want a bit more guidance, you can learn more about personality tests for jobs over at the balance careers.

And if you are full-octane, spare no expense, I-want-to-find-myself-and-my-perfect-fit, consider investing both time and money into something like the in-depth, very individual SIMA or or MCORE instruments.

Know the Business

The second task in making a career move is to get really clear about the job you want. 

Perhaps you already have a laser focus on your next move.  If so, that’s great.  Continue to learn all you can about that role and that industry.  Make time in your schedule to get to know people who are doing that work:  Start with LinkedIn, professional societies, or friends of friends to build connections.  Keep working those connections, and keep building your portfolio of skills for that work, and prepare to make your leap.

On the other hand, maybe you aren’t really satisfied at your current job, but you don’t have a clear sense of what’s next.  Don’t worry.  There’s a third step just for you.  

Fit Your Job to Your Personality

A third aspect of making the leap to a new job or career is to take what you know about yourself and what you know about the possible job and make sure they mesh well.  To ensure that you are a good fit for your next job, make sure your personality fits the job.  

Think about it:  It’s easier to be an effective salesperson if you are an extrovert who has a thick skin.  In general, an artistic person is often more satisfied being an interior designer than an actuary. 

From another point of view, it is easier to fit in and understand your company culture when you see the world similarly to your co-workers.  A creative spirit will have a difficult time finding a comfortable place in a team full of by-the-book rule followers, and vice-versa.

Over sixty years ago, John Holland came up with a theory which has dominated the field of career counseling by personality traits.  Holland proposed six personality types which are linked to job satisfaction in different fields.  Most people are a combination of two or three of these wedges:

Doer (Realistic)  like to work with their hands, mechanical 

Thinker (Investigative)  researcher, problem solver

Artistic (Creator) expressive, writing/dance/visual art/music

Social (Helper) get along well with others, put others before self

Enterprising (Persuader) leaders, assertive, direct/manage

Conventional (Organizer) attention to detail, enjoy maintaining order, follow routines

Does this sound interesting? Take a Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC)-based profile here.

And Now…

So what do you think? 

Are you already in a field that fits your personality well, or should you look to making a leap in the next few years? 

How have you continued to grow and develop since your first job? 

How might you like to continue growing and developing in the coming years? 

Leave a comment, or contact me.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  

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