Staying in the same job for too long can often make you feel like you are stuck in a box. In fact, a former boss once told me that “you can actually become de-skilled if you stay in the same role for more than a few years.”
Since January, I’ve spoken with a few former colleagues who are currently searching for a new full-time job. ‘Tis the job hunting season as it is a new year!
I’ve noticed that one of the most common complaints that they have is that they feel like they don’t have all of the skills required in the listing for a job. Or, that the job description seems limiting somehow and/or it omits some of the skills that they wish to continue nurture in the future.
I know that this isn’t the typical topic that I post on mypersonal blog. But it is a big reason why I became self-employed in the first place.
A few years ago, like many of my friends who are now searching for jobs, I felt like my current job skills didn’t match up with the job that I wanted to do. Also, many of thejob descriptions for which I was applying felt too limiting and I knew that I would want to do more than what was outlined as my future roles and responsibilities. So, I did what seemed like the only reasonable thing at the time – I hired myself and made up my own limitless job description.
Of course, it’s important to be focused as an entrepreneur or freelancer. But the bonus is that your job description doesn’t have to fit into a box – nor does yourcurrent level of expertise have to tick all of the boxes required to get the job that you wish you could have. That’s because you can continue to evolve and learn new skills on the fly as an entrepreneur. In fact, you have to do that or you won’t succeed.
For anyone out there looking to change careers or to find a job that they keep getting told that they are not yet qualified to have,why not consider hiring yourself?You may just be the best boss you ever had!
I have been very fortunate to have found a number of people in my career who I can turn to for advice and inspiration. I like to call these people my “Career Yodas”. I am not implying that these people are small, wrinkly and hundreds of years old – but they do possess a certain level of wisdom that I am able to learn from and therefore I look up to them. This summer, I met my most important “Career Yoda” to date.
After I left a job that I felt was the wrong step in my career, I knew I needed someone to guide me back to the proper path. A former boss of mine recommended that I speak with her friend who had started up her own career coaching company. I was skeptical at first because I thought that I already had a lot of people to turn to for advice. However, I took a chance on her and have never looked back. What I have learned is that career coaches are not supposed to make you fill out questionnaires about your skills and help you to find out what colour your parachute should be. Instead, they are there to help you find out how to fit your career aspirations into your desired lifestyle and cheer you on to help you go after what makes the most sense to you in your life right now. They also challenge your way of thinking and are there as a sounding board when you are trying to make a tough decision.
I have coined my weekly career coaching sessions as “Wednesdays with Rachel”. I look forward to these meetings because I know that she is going to want a recap of all of the homework that she assigned to me in the previous week and is going to hold me accountable if I didn’t complete my assignments. Being the keener that I am, I get great satisfaction from telling her what I have accomplished and I can be completely honest about what I am thinking and going through. She also helps me to set goals for myself outside of my career to make sure that I am fulfilling other life aspirations as well. More importantly, she has taught me the power of patience in my career as I often like to race towards the next step without thinking through how it will impact my life as a whole.
Rachel has helped me to discover the “force” that was always strong in me but had just been buried for a while. I have learned a lot about myself through the process and am richer for having gone through the experience. Therefore, if you have ever thought that you needed some guidance in your career, I highly encourage you to work with a career coach (or Yoda – patato/potato). Believe me, you’ll never look back!