Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year, New Job?

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Thinking about making some resolutions for 2011? Guest blogger Rosemary Benson-Salotti has some advice.

Although they have some really cool stuff on their site, you don’t need to check with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to know that New Year’s Day is creeping up, and resolutions are flying around with as much chance of follow-through as Frosty’s vacation in El Azizia. But it is the traditional time to do a self-check, so here’s a question: are you passionate about your job? If you wonder if you’re in the right job, or you’re looking for a new one, do what scientists do: observe.

Start by listing what you like about your current situation. Look around. What is it about your job that gets you up in the morning? What could you live without, and which aspects do you dread? How are your strengths put to use?

It’s important to take the time to break down the elements of your current job, including the physical environment, communication effectiveness, levels of responsibility, compensation, and opportunity. Merely rating your satisfaction levels in each of these areas will allow you to see where your preferences lie.

Then, evaluate your preferences. Are you a good communicator, more comfortable interacting with colleagues regularly, or would you prefer working in solitude? Do you seek opportunities to share your knowledge? If so, would you rather do so in person or by publishing? Are you satisfied working on small segments of a project, or do you need to see an outcome or end product?

Experiment: play, "What if?" What if you could do whatever you love and be paid for it? Assume that the position as head taster on Cake Boss is already filled. What would your perfect job look like? Consider the previous categories, and list your Utopian conditions. Then look around. Who has a job like that?

Explore your social networks, counterparts at other institutions, and association websites to track down people who do what you’d love to be doing. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of lurking! Connect with them. Most people are flattered to be asked about their work. See if the functions and features of their jobs converge with your ideals. Once you determine what kind of job will give you the most satisfaction, you’ll be ready to seek out a specific position.

Expect the process to take a while, but look at it this way: you don’t need to know about oscillation frequencies to know that time flies. Your ideal job is out there. Resolve to find out what makes you tick.

Special thanks to New Voices guest blogger Rosemary Benson-Salotti, consultant at the QUEST Career Exploration Program who has agreed to respond to any questions or comments left in the comments and to make appropriate offline connections.

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1 comment:

  1. I hate my company's culture. I can't change it so I'm moving.