When asked about your particular job and career choice, it's likely that you respond with one or two of these statements:
- "It's a great place to work" (culture)
- "The guy I'll be working for seems really nice" (command)
- "The people are fun" (comrades)
- "The pay is really good" (compensation)
- "I'll get to do what I want" (contribution)
But Pay Attention to This
The problem is that just one or two of these criteria are typically not enough to keep us excited about our choice. We soon we find ourselves not enjoying our work. Although we love the pay maybe the boss is difficult; or, we’re not getting to do the tasks we enjoy; or, something else we overlooked is now an issue.
You can avoid this problem by thinking about 5 C's of your career at the outset. Here are some questions to consider:
In what kind of company do I want to work? - Large or small? Public or privately owned? Nurturing environment or "sweat shop? Fun or serious?
For what type of boss/supervisor would I like to work? Warm and friendly or distant? Micro-manager or hands off? Dictator or leader?
With whom do I want to work? Team players or mavericks? Highly social or indifferent? Helpful and supportive? Shared work ethic?
What would I like my financial package and other benefits to be? How much money do I want to make? Do I want professional growth and development? Would I like to work on a commission basis? How important is recognition to me?
What would I like to give in my work? Do I need to make a difference in the world? Do I need to express myself creatively? Do I need to take on a lot of responsibility? Do I want to lead or manage people?
The 5 C's raise your awareness and ultimately improve your job satisfaction, because you're more likely to be doing and experiencing what you love, than taking what you can get.
Although you can't control all these aspects of your career nor the people in it, being clear will help you ask better questions and do better research as you evaluate your career. The key is in getting the most you can, and also agreeing with yourself that what you are able to get is what you truly want.
Career Leadership for Managers
Managers: Use this list as a conversation starter with job candidates or direct reports. Sometimes it's tough to get the discussion rolling. These are the kinds of questions that your people hope you will ask. And, they'll lead to a deeper understanding of the folks on your team.
This could be an effective step toward becoming known as a Career Leader in your organization.
Note on the life of the famously obscure(?)
If you are a regular reader here you are aware of our honor as a nominee for Best Leadership Blog of 2008. The voting runs through July 31 and every blog in the running is worth your attention.
And: We're equally thankful to Dustin Wax for his inclusion in Lifehack's "50 Personal Productivity Blogs You've Probably Never Heard Of."
This is creating an identity crisis here this week:-)