Career reflection. Go with your gut!

Late afternoon, Bondi Beach

The start of a new year is often cause for reflection, about life, our career and our current job. A holiday, some time to think: Am I doing what I want to do? Am I happy working where I am? What would I like to do differently? Do I want a complete change?

This is all pretty normal. In fact the early parts of the year is the time that businesses have the most employee turnover and also advertise the most jobs. It makes sense.

But should you change jobs? Is it time to move on and do something different? I have been reflecting about a couple of times in my career when I changed jobs or thought about changing jobs, and how important "gut feel" is when considering a new opportunity. What's this gut feel thing? To me it's that feeling in the pit of your stomach that says "this feels right" or "this doesn't feel right". It's often something you can't quantify or describe. The times when I have noticed this feeling and acted upon it, things have gone well. The times when I noticed the feeling but ignored it or rationalised it away.....disaster!

Example 1
A while ago, when I was working in retail (and I didn't want to work in retail) I auditioned for a production of Chicago, the musical. The group putting on the production had secured some state government funding to tour the production around regional Queensland. I got in and had a small part! So cool. My career in amateur theatre was not over!

Rehearsals started. It was fun, but didn't quite feel right. Things were a little disorganised but I don't think that was it. Hmmm....As the rehearsals continued the less I wanted to be involved. Why? I couldn't put my finger on it. Was I scared to resign my full time job when we went on tour? I don't think that was it. Was I scared to travel around Queensland for a number of months? Nope. 

A few more rehearsals and I left the show. My gut was screaming "don't do it!" Even though I couldn't work out the reasons why. Turned out to be a good decision. The show opened in Ipswich to terrible reviews and then continued up the coast of Queensland. About half way through the planned tour half the cast took control of the mini bus and drove back to Brisbane. The show hadn't improved, one of the producers was a kleptomaniac and was having an affair with the Director, which went sour. It all got very messy. 

It wasn't as fun as performing in a musical, but by staying on in my retail job I gained valuable communication, business and conflict management experience, and made the decision to study Human Resource Management.

Example 2
I had made the decision to leave my current job in HR. I had been with the company for 3 years and was ready for the next step in my career. I applied for a great role with a publicly listed company. I attended two interviews, one with the General Manager of HR and the other with the CEO. I also completed psychometric testing. I was offered the job! Pretty exciting. It's great to be wanted, isn't it?

I resigned my current role but felt sick about it. I couldn't put my finger on it. Rationally it was a good decision. It was a great step in my career, I was joining a newly formed HR team of specialists so I would learn heaps, it paid more money....I felt sick to the core and I ignored the feeling.

Day 1 of any new job can be scary. You don't know anyone or anything but this day 1 was different. It felt completely wrong and that feeling never left me. I tried and tried. I worked long hours. I was stressed and I put on weight. I can't say that awful gut feeling ever left me. I struggled on for 12 months because my pride wouldn't let me have a shorter period on my resume. Bad decision. I should have walked out on day 1 but we had a new mortgage so I limped on. 

On reflection I just didn't fit the culture and I didn't have my "antennae" up, during the recruitment process. Two great lessons learned for me. 
1. Culture fit is really important. Der. 
2. A recruitment process is a two way process. Obviously you want to impress the company you are interviewing with and they want to learn whether you can do the job and fit the company. But you need to learn enough to work out whether you actually want to work there!

Inspire me

Reflections on Woolgoolga Beach
Before you jump in and start applying for jobs, take some time to really work out what you want. Where do you want to take your career next? What do you want to learn? What do you love about your current job? Would you like to do more of that? What don't you enjoy? There are always parts of a job that everyone hates but sometimes you can minimise these parts.  Can you describe the company culture you want to be part of?

Develop me

If you need some extra help have a read of the post here on working out your career purpose and this post here for some extra details!

Just for me

Set some Career goals for 2013, write them down and get working!

Tell me about your career goals for 2013. Is there anything you would like me to write about?
Source: via Julien on Pinterest



Welcome to my blog, I-develop-me. For a while now I have wanted to share what I have learned over the years from my experiences working in Human Resources and Organisational Development for small, medium and large organisations. Some of this experience has been great, some not-so-great, but you know, I have learned a lot! I have worked with some amazing and inspiring people and some who perhaps should only be allowed to work in a locked room. Alone. And I’m being kind. I bet you have worked with someone like this!

The focus of this blog will be helping you to develop yourself in whatever you want to achieve. I’ll be providing tips and tricks and resources to help you along the way. Some will be focused on your career, some on general personal development. The main thing I have learnt is that while organisations often have talent management processes, career development initiatives and learning and development programs and opportunities unless you know what you want to do and where you want to go in your career, it’s not much help. Or maybe you are not part of a workplace that has these kind of resources? Maybe you have your own business? Or maybe you are pursuing interests and goals outside of your day-to-day bill paying job? Maybe you are considering a career change or a tree-change?  Well perhaps there will be something for you here.

My basic premise on career development, or perhaps that should be life development, is that if you are waiting for someone else i.e. your manager, your company or your family or partner to take charge of your destiny then you are in big trouble! The only way to be successful is to be clear about:
  • who you are,
  • what you enjoy,
  • what makes you happy in life, and  
  • where you want to be in the future…
That’s why the blog is called I-develop-me. Only you can take responsibility for your career and your life. I’ll be covering topics to help you work some of this stuff, like; self-awareness, education and qualifications, self coaching, leadership, culture, emotions in the workplace, mentors, life balance, feedback, getting happy, finding your passion…..Is there a topic you want me to cover? Do you have a burning issue? Drop me a line!

I will be kicking off with Education and Qualifications in my next post. How important are they?

In the mean time check out this great video called Try something new for 30 days. My husband bought me a digital SLR camera for my birthday last year and I’m currently participating in the photoaday challenge by @fatmumslim to help me improve my ‘eye’. I’m using instagram and posting to twitter and facebook. Is there something new you want to try? Maybe this video will inspire you?