Career owner in the making

During lunch with two friends today, we caught up on current work mindsets. Sue was feeling great—she just returned from a four day renewal in Vegas; I was eager and energized by a new project; and Laurie was up in the air. She was about a month into a new position and was ok with it but not excited. Turns out that she was moved into a position that doesn’t use her strengths, and she was making the best of it. Her question: what do you do when the organization moves you in a direction that isn’t where you want to go?

Laurie had actually interviewed for a position a few months ago that was aligned with her desired direction but didn’t get it. It was one that would have taken her back to the field, where she is experienced and has done great work. So she’s stuck in her thinking: she wanted to go one way and the organization moved her in another; she is looking at her current spot as “a learning experience,” but that’s putting her best spin on a challenging situation. Thus, her question.

She’s been with the organization for 15 years, so has accepted the culture and how things get done. She knows her talents very well, and knows where she can make an impact. She has, maybe, 60% engagement in the work she’s doing…and it’s at that level because she’s still on the learning curve. Once she gets more comfortable with the work, her engagement will decrease and she’ll still get the job done. It works that way with most employees every day.

What kind of contribution could she make if she were completely connected to her work, if she were using her talents and aligning her intellect and her commitment to the organization?

Laurie knows very well and is going after that very thing.

She is re-energized about defining her path inside the organization…she loves the industry and knows how she can make a difference. She is reviewing her professional development agenda created several years ago during her MBA program. She is looking around to see how and where she can use her strengths, and is focused on doing so. She is renewing connections with past mentors and looking to clarify her knowledge of the organization’s growth plans. She is seeking to identify a sponsor or two, and get included in projects that will challenge her, grow her skills and use her talents to make a difference. Along the way, she is building and making her business case for strategically-defined career moves.

Laurie has the beginnings of a plan for invigorating her career direction, one that is a true learning experience…where her emotional connection will intensify the learning such that the organization will reap tremendous results. She is electrified by the possibility that she can own her career, that she can set direction and see positive results for both her and the organization.

How about you…are you stuck? Going in a direction that doesn’t quite fit, or that you don’t care about? What’s holding you back, keeping you from going after your best work? Let me know and we’ll take a look at what’s getting in your way and, if you’re willing to do the work, how to intentionally move beyond it.

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