Redirect your strengths in right direction
MOST people spend 48 weeks at work each year, with only two to four weeks of vacation.
Over the course of a 45-year career, you are likely to be working for 41.5 years and vacationing for 3.5 years, at the most.
Like most people, you probably spend more time planning your getaways than managing your career course.
Studies have shown that people invest more time researching the purchase of a car (five hours or more) than on evaluating their career choices.
Managing your career is critical to achieving success and happiness in your professional - and personal - life.
Research by career consultancy Right Management - based on helping people leaving a company increase self- awareness about their occupational interests, motivation and ideal job fit - suggests that close to half of them are in roles that do not align well with their values, occupational interests and personal strengths.
When these people are guided to better understand the ideal job fit in terms of strengths and motivation, nearly half decide to switch to new careers. The research has involved nearly 164,000 respondents so far.
To examine your current job fit, you need to know who you are and where you are in terms of your career path.
What's your core?
These are the entrenched beliefs that guide your life choices and drive your behaviour.
Your personal values should align with the values espoused by the organisation you work for. A vegetarian working for a meat processor is a clear example of misalignment.
However, most mismatches are far more subtle. For example, some organisations place a higher value on individual performance than on the team, while other organisations put the team before the individual.
Misalignment of values is like rubbing two pieces of sandpaper together - over time, it becomes intolerable.
These are the engines that fuel your motivation.
Too often, people enter certain careers because of parental, peer or educational system pressures. It is likely that few have taken the time - and worked up the courage - to call a time-out and examine their career choice.
These are skill-related activities that get your serotonin levels rocking.
Due to the enjoyment associated with these work functions, you gravitate to them often, which enhances your learning and work performance.
Organisations are known for moving people out of their comfort zones for well-meaning reasons, such as to expand their knowledge.
The classic example is the top sales person who gets "promoted" to a management position where he languishes, coming to life only when he is able to get back in front of customers. Ask yourself: What's your sweet spot?
Where are you now?
Have you given your current role too little or too much time?
Every role requires a level of mastery and the duration needed to attain this depends on the scope of your job.
For example, a sales management role responsible for a single industry segment in a single territory with no direct reports and a sales target of $2 million is easier to get your arms around than a role across six industry segments and eight territories with eight direct reports and a sales target of $16 million.
Role mastery is similar to the four stages of adult learning: Unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, competence and unconscious competence.
By stage 3, you have achieved mastery.
By the last stage, you are probably burned out and no longer enjoy the work.
Some people underestimate the time it takes to reach a level of role mastery while others dwell too long in their roles.
If you can do the job with your eyes closed, you are no longer challenged. This can lead to loss of interest and enjoyment which impacts negatively on performance.
So, do you master more in your current role or is it time to move on to greater challenges?
Having a sense of these issues before you have a career conversation with your team leader will help you work towards a good alignment that benefits you and the company.
Or, engage a trusted mentor, coach or colleague to help you and create a career plan that is right for you.
This article was contributed by Right Management, the global career experts within United States-listed HR consulting firm ManpowerGroup.