Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine's Career Treat: 5 Tips to Reaching Satisfaction

The first half of the semester is nearly over for Kelley MBAs and many other programs - some of you (those of you who've accepted full-time positions or internships, I'm talking to you..) are on auto-pilot and you can't wait to get started. Others of you are cautiously optimistic about your career plans, while some of you are about to hit the panic button. Regardless of your specific category, I invite you to take some time to do something nice for yourself this Valentine's Day, a day when we often look to others to do something special for us.

Drawing on the work of Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans, co-authors of Love It Don't Leave It: 26 Ways to Get What you Want at Work, I share with you 5 tips to enable you to be successful in your internship or full-time job or as you continue the search to find a fulfilling career. Working with MBA students and professionals in their career search over the last 5 years, I've seen a tendency for individuals to focus on the external, what's happening to them, rather than focusing on their own actions. I've carefully selected and adapted the following 5 suggestions, from Beverly and Sharon's Valentine's post, to focus on soon to be MBA interns and full-time hires.
Opportunities… They’re still knocking. Don't wait for your career coach, faculty, student services, or your classmates to hand you the next opportunity. Make sure that when opportunity knocks, you not only hear it, but you're also prepared to open the door. And don't forget, you might need to show up on the door step to initiate the knocking.
You'll be hard-pressed to be prepared to open the door, if you haven't taken the time to figure out your...
Passion… It’s not just a fruit. Get clear about your passion and then go after it! Notice what’s missing and then ask for it. Having passion for your work is not only possible, it’s crucial. Launch a passionate search for ways to bring together your passion and your work.
Once you've found your passion and taken advantage of opportunities, you're likely to have secured a position. You still have work to do...
Information… Are you on board? Bringing yourself onboard and truly “finding the fit” can be challenging. Do your homework and learn as much as you can about the organization you’ve joined or are deciding to join. Don’t leave your own job fit to happenstance. If you find it isn't a fit once you're there, do some work to figure out if it is salvageable for the long term.
Have you forgotten to take the time to assess passion and fit? Or maybe you thought that was someone else's job...
Passing the Buck… Don’t pass it. Some people are tempted to hold others accountable for their work satisfaction. Ultimately you choose how much effort you put into the search - how many informational interviews you've done, how many times you've reached out to your coach, how many practice interviews you've done - and you have the power to improve. Accept that responsibility, complete with its challenges, and you’ll get more of what you want from your work and your workplace
Not sure if you are passing the buck or making a decision without having some critical data, take some time to find out.
Truth… It hurts - or does it? You need regular, honest feedback from your career coach, boss, co-workers, customers, and friends. Many people complain about not getting enough feedback. Don’t wait for your career coach, or others, to tell you truth. Go after it. You need the truth to know where you stand and how you can succeed.
While these tips have been modified to focus on people actively in the career search or about to start a job, don't lose site once you've been out in the workforce for awhile. Do you want to be part of the 48% of employees who are completely satisfied with their job; or, of the 52% who aren't.

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