Last week, the #QOTD was:
If your business, work & career were ideal in every way, what would they look like?
The responses were:
- Creating content 10 hrs./week & waking up to paid invoices
- A career as a blogger
- A career as a school counselor or speech pathologist
I asked a couple probing questions to get a clear answer, but because I asked the question on our public Facebook page, I didn’t want to get too personal.
And, I know that many of you also want a career you love with a salary you love so I wanted to provide some insight for everyone to utilize.
1. Go deeper.
Do not shame a mom. Period. But, especially, around me. I don’t care if she’s married, divorced, a teenager, 50 years old, still with the dad, don’t know the dad, it does not matter. A baby is always a gift. I think pregnant women are super special. When I see them teetering around, I smile. I was a babysitter for years. And, the maternity floor is my favorite floor in the hospital. In my mind, this meant that midwifery and doula services would be the perfect career for me.
I begin taking courses to become a midwife/doula and interned at a midwifery clinic.
I hated it.
For starters, after I accepted the internship, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I was so engrossed in my own pregnancy that all other pregnant women lost their glowing aura. Hey, my feet are swollen just like yours, lady! We’re both big as barns, chewing ginger gum and peeing on ourselves. What’s the big deal?
I still remember the time the midwife asked a new mom (who had labored all day) if she would like to stay the night.
Please say no. Please say no.
“Um…what do you think honey?” she asked her husband.
Please say no.
“Well, if you’d like to, Babe.”
Please say no.
“I think I’d like to stay,” she told the midwife.
I wanted her to choose what was best for her, but her staying the night meant the midwife and staff had to spend the night as well and all I wanted was a bath, some dinner & foot rub from my (then) boyfriend. Thankfully, the midwife let me go home. That’s when I realized that just because I’m fascinated by a career doesn’t make it a great career choice for me. And, I also realized that my ideal career has to line up with ideal lifestyle. I want a brood of children and missing their birthdays or school plays because a mom is laboring isn’t something I’m willing to sacrifice. So, when you contemplate your ideal career, Brian Tracy says you need to answer these questions:
- What would your day-to-day look like?
- What sort of company would you like to work for?
- What position would you have?
- How much money would you earn?
- What kind of people would you work with?
And, I’d add:
- Does the lifestyle of a person in this profession look like the lifestyle you desire?
2. Take a look around.
Interning with the midwife was eye-opening for me. I would still think midwifery would be a great career for me had I not spent some time walking in her shoes. If you’re interested in a career, spend the day working with someone in that field before making a definite decision. When I decided I wanted to become a life coach, I begin volunteering 1 to 2 days/week at a women’s empowerment facility. That volunteer position lead to a teaching opportunity and eventually a full-time position that paid for a portion of my life coaching classes.
3. The path may be crooked.
When discovering your ideal career, do not become discouraged when the path isn’t straight. If you believe God is ordering your steps, give Him room to work. My path to a full-time job at the women’s empowerment facility began with a forced resignation. That resignation freed me up to take some speaking classes and volunteer at the women’s empowerment facility. Out of the blue, I received a phone call or an on-call position. I wasn’t sure if I’d be working 2 hours/week or 40 hours/week but I trusted God to provide. Every week I worked full-time and because I made my own schedule, I was able to continue taking speaking classes and volunteer at the women’s facility. Volunteering led to a full-time job at the women’s empowerment facility where I was facilitating classes, facilitating meetings, coaching clients. All from a forced resignation from a job I hated…
Click here to see another example of what this looks like.
I feel like the older I become, the more fear paralyzes me. I believe it’s because the older I become, the greater the cost of messing up. I have a spouse who’s counting on me to be a valuable teammate. I have two children who I would give my right and left leg to make sure they’re properly set-up for a successful life. Settling for life is not an option. So, I empathize with your fear, but I also want you to know that it may be illogical.
I’ve used many reasons to stay on a job.
- Kids. They understand when I need to leave because of my children. But, there are many jobs that allow for this.
- Familiarity. I know them. They know me. At one point, you didn’t know them and they didn’t know you. You’ll be okay.
- Comfortably Uncomfortable. I like what I do but it doesn’t allow me to grow & isn’t paying me enough. Negotiate your salary. Look for the same position with another company. If this isn’t enough, prepare to leave.
- Loyalty. There are some folks there that I care about and don’t want to let down. Some of them are on an upward track and they’re leaving whenever the opportunity presents itself. They are working forward because they have a career plan. You should, too.
- Fear. Starting over. Inadequate knowledge. Useless degree. Two words. Favor & wisdom. God has always had a plan to prosper you and give you a good future. You just have to walk in it.
Why you must move?
The Pareto Principal is the 80/20 rule. You’ve heard of that right? Apparently, 80% of the money goes to 20% of the employees in the company. And, the 80% gets to divide 20% of the funds. Really? Yep!
So, that raise you get every year is keeping up with the cost of living increase. Which means, you’re not doing any better year to year. For real?!
That’s why despite the fear and the loyalty and the familiarity, you have to make moves.
So, you’ve messed up…
In his book No Excuses, Tracy says we should strive to be in the top 20% of our career. Top 20%? What is that? I barely graduated and when I did graduate, it was with a Psychology degree, during the great recession, and with no plans to ever step foot on a college campus again. So, I know what doom feels like. But, you can’t stay there.
What’s your career plan?
You must go deeper by asking yourself the questions mentioned earlier. That’s the first step…figuring out what you want and if it aligns with your desired lifestyle.
And, then forget about the straight path. Take steps (two to the left and one to the right, if you have to) to take you closer to your ideal career.
You don’t need to send in your letter of resignation tomorrow. Your current job is a part of your career plan. Working there give you cushion to figure out what your next step will be.
Update your resume.
Find people on LinkedIn who are doing what you desire to do. What does their headline say? What skill sets do they speak about in their bio? What companies do they work for? What does their resume look like?
Do a job search on LinkedIn.
If you’re trying to move up in the company you’re with, Tracy says to be a problem solver. You can’t be act like your peers and get a job 2 or 3 paygrades above them. You need to begin dressing, speaking, and behaving like the job you’re after.
What books are they reading? How do they structure their day? What professional development classes have they taken?
Adopt a growth mindset. Robert Green says it’s not about your intelligence. It’s about experience. Are you willing to find out what you don’t know? Are you willing to work harder? Are you willing to trade TV shows for reading books on your industry? Are you willing to invest in yourself? Are you willing to go out for a job you’re not qualified for so that you’re more knowledgeable the next go ’round? (They call that failing forward.)
In closing, I’m not a career coach. But, you knew that. And, you know this, too, but I’ll repeat it for those who are new or have forgotten it. I’m a woman who wants you to live in the fullness of the life God laid out for you. I know that change is tough, standing up for yourself is tough, stepping into the unknown is tough, and messing up is frightening. But, that’s how you grow, Sis.
I’m figuring it all out, too. But, I’m determined to not settle for what is easy. And, as I learn, I teach.
Do me a favor and leave your thoughts in the comments. What did you learn? What would you like me to know more about? What is your ideal career and what step are you taking today to become one step closer?