If you’re by nature or inclination a disorganized person, the thought of conducting an organized job search or applying organizing principles to your career planning might strike fear into your heart! Okay, so that’s a bit of over-dramatization, but the point is, whether you’re innately drawn to organization or just the opposite, a certain amount of organization is pretty much critical to a successful job search or to smart, long-range career planning.
Just think about those times when your job has worn you to a frazzle, and you wonder how in the world you got into that predicament–and how you’re going to get out of it. Wouldn’t a little advance organization have helped prevent that stressful dilemma?
The same goes for your job search and career planning.
What Does It Take to be Organized?
Out of curiosity, I started looking at job postings for professional home organizers (by the way, the ones I saw didn’t pay wild salaries, but that’s not the point at the moment). As an example, here are several of the key qualifications listed:
- Thrive on finding solutions to complex problems.
- Prepare a customized action plan and timeline for each organizing project.
- Implement organizing processes and customized solutions.
- Ability to work with a variety of personalities.
- Ability to visualize and transform a space.
- Confidence and the ability to take charge.
I’ll bet that if you give it some thought, you can see a way most if not all of these could be applied to your job search and career planning activities. For example, you might not need to “visualize and transform a space,” but you probably do need to “visualize and transform” your job search if you want it to achieve a successful outcome, especially if you’ve been going at it in a more or less haphazard fashion.
Failure to Have an Organized Job Search or Career Planning Process
What are the consequences of not achieving an organized job search or career planning? For starters, as I mentioned above, you could be jeopardizing the possibility of a successful job search–needlessly. That’s a consequence (cost) you don’t want to incur and shouldn’t have to, but it’s up to you to take the actions necessary to avoid it.
Positive alternatives do exist. One way is to get help from someone who is more organized than you feel you are–for instance, either a professional (such as a career coach) or a friend or colleague whose methods you respect. Brainstorm with that person on what you need to do yourself and what you can readily have help with.
Another possibility is to take a class in organizing. No, I’m not being facetious. I haven’t checked specifically, but I suspect there are classes available somewhere (offline or online) to help people become more organized. If time and travel are concerns for you, online might be a good option because it’s more flexible. If you’re the kind of person who does better with personal interaction and group participation, a physical class situation might be better. The main issue in this case is finding a class that you can translate into your professional career needs, rather than one designed to be so specific to physical home organizing that translating it would be difficult at best.
You don’t need to suffer the consequences of failure with regard to having an organized job search or career planning process. Take charge of the process and put in place the techniques you need to have for it to work well.
Some of you probably knew what you wanted to be when you grew up, even before you left childhood behind. Many of us, though, take longer to figure it out, and some take a really long time.
Others never quite do choose a single goal. If you’re one of those, does that mean there’s something seriously wrong with you? Not necessarily, but it might mean you’ll have a more challenging career road ahead, with a lot of zigs and zags.
Multipotentialites or Multipods
This was a new concept for me, but a very intriguing one. I found it in a fascinating article by George Lorenzo titled, “Why Figuring Out What You Want To Do Isn’t Necessary For Success,” on FastCompany.com. The article highlights the career of Emilie Wapnick, founder of Puttylike.com, which is a resource for individuals who can’t seem to focus on one career objective. As the article puts it, “These are people who simply cannot work in only one arena; they have multiple passions they might dive into with extraordinary zeal, often temporarily…. Or they have numerous finely tuned skills and hobbies….”
The problem is, of course, that such people don’t fit into the expected pattern. It can make your work life (and personal life as well) much more challenging than you might like, because people tend to label you as someone who “can’t decide what you want to be when you grow up” and dismiss you as doomed to career failure rather than career success.
You might be interested to know, though, that you’re in pretty good company if you’re a Multipod. Wapnick presented a TED talk in which the following were mentioned as Multipods: Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo DaVinci, and Thomas Jefferson. Not bad company to be in, right?
So is Focus a Bad Thing?
Of course not! At least, not if you don’t happen to be a Multipotentialite (Multipod). Your career success might rest more on a focused path than on a diversity of directions. If you have a strong passion or a well-defined skill-set you enjoy using, you might decide that your best bet is to pursue a goal that takes advantage of it and focus on developing it into a viable career.
In that case, however, you might need to remind yourself from time to time that focus is not only a good thing but also important to your professional development and eventual career success. It’s not that you have to concentrate so hard on the chosen direction that you can’t ever do anything else in your life; you just need to invest a fair amount of time and effort in actions that move you in that direction.
By the way, some people who might be considered at least borderline Multipods find their satisfaction from pursuing one direction for a professional career and indulging many other aspects of their interests and talents outside the workplace–or even as a second-stage career after they retire from the first one.
With Thanksgiving just two days away, I’ve been reflecting on the subject of appreciation (aka gratitude). If you’re at all like me, you might not always remember to express appreciation for the good that has come into your life, your work, etc., from various individuals. Without minimizing any challenges you might be experiencing or anticipating, I wanted to take a moment to talk about how appreciation enriches our lives in a variety of ways.
Appreciation is Best When Reciprocal
I believe everyone wants–even needs–to feel appreciated (valued). This is true both in our personal lives and in our professional career and job search activities. It’s not that you have a burning need to hear appreciation expressed at every turn–just that hearing it now and then provides a lift to your enthusiasm and energy that you might not experience otherwise.
To give a couple of work-related examples:
- Your job probably encompasses a number of expected performance factors. If you fulfill those as expected, you don’t necessarily need constant validation of your work. However, if your boss seldom or never indicates that he/she values what you have accomplished, you could wonder if it’s worth the effort you put into it. On those occasions where you go above and beyond to produce stellar results, appreciation would definitely be in order (although it doesn’t always happen).
- Someone has provided you with a possible job lead and maybe even offered to speak to the hiring manager about you. Whether or not that results in a job offer or even an interview, appreciation for the effort is appropriate.
For the flip side of the coin, you might consider whether you yourself can be more alert to opportunities to express appreciation to those you work with or for–that goes for customers, team members you manage, peers you collaborate with, and even your boss. Remember that bosses can take a lot of heat from the ones they report to, and they don’t necessarily receive expressions of appreciation as often as they’d like.
What or Whom Do You Appreciate?
When I sit down and think about what I am thankful for, it doesn’t take long for the list to grow. Yes, there have been challenges (in any given year), but on balance, I have to honestly acknowledge that I’ve been fortunate. By that, I mean that I’ve had some delightful family members, friends, colleagues, bosses and, of course, clients in my life over the years. At this particular moment, I’m thinking of all the ways in which 2013 has been marked by growth, opportunities and appreciation from others.
So even as we look forward to Thanksgiving Day, I’d like to emphasize that appreciation isn’t a once-a-year thing. It can happen any time, and it should. I’d also like to share a couple of quotations that reinforce what I’ve just been saying:
* Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. [Voltaire (1694 – 1778)]
* Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. [Margaret Cousins]