by Bruce Hazen and Tim Clark
Welcome to the modern workforce.
Today’s professionals are famously unsatisfied with their careers. But most stay where they are until the pain of the status quo overwhelms the pain of undertaking significant change.
If you’re ready for change, here are three tips that will prepare you to swap busy work for better work:
1. Get a Bigger Theory of the Game
Most people are serial job-finders rather than true managers of their careers. That doesn’t necessarily mean they change jobs frequently. In fact, they often strive for longevity in an organization to avoid facing their lack of a bigger career picture. For many, it’s a reaction to market and organizational forces — and a dangerous default replacement for true career management. If you recognize yourself as a serial job-finder, use tips 2 and 3 below to start actively managing your career.
2. Ask Yourself the Three Questions
You have three options at any moment in your career. If you like your work and are finding success, you can Move Up. If you don’t like your work (or your boss or your employer) and aren’t finding success, you can Move Out. If you like where you are but aren’t achieving adequate success, you can Adapt Your Style. Now, ask yourself the Three Questions: Is it time to Move Up? If so, you need a development strategy. Is it time to Move Out? If so, it’s time for a transition strategy. Is it time to Adapt Your Style? If yes, you need coaching. We suggest engaging a good career consultant, preferably one experienced in personal business modeling. Alternatively, try tip 3 on your own.
3. Create a Personal Business Model
Use the Personal Business Model Canvas (available for free online) to describe your “as-is” Personal Business Model: how you create and deliver value to customers today. You’ll find this exercise powerful and revealing — the simple act of describing how you work today will result in fresh, powerful ideas for modifying and managing your career. Based on those insights, draw a new, “to-be” Personal Business Model depicting how you prefer to work going forward.
Closing the gap between your as-is and to-be Personal Business Models is challenging and will take time, whether you’ve decided to Move Up, Move Out, or Adapt Your Style. If you stall, have a trusted advisor listen to you think out loud about what’s blocking your progress.
Getting started is the toughest part. So take heart in knowing you’re leaving the crowd that lets “busy work” block them from getting to better work.