Building strong personal career paths – do you have a case study to share?

Readers of my blogs will know that I am an avid reader.  I’ve just made my way through ‘Do more great work’ by Michael Bungay Stanier.  It’s a misleadingly small book!  It looks small, and from the outside could be mistaken as the kind of book that you can wiz through.  But it’s taken me about a month to read!  In the process, I’ve been discovering some strategic and tactical things I can, want and will do differently, and looking back over my notes, realize that I have even implemented some of them already.

So many of us could do with some help in determining our ideal career.

Helen Chapman, of Pelican Coaching & Development, recommended the book to me in the first place, and I have found myself recommending the book non-stop to people I’ve been talking to:

  • Participants in a NetIKX seminar on Information and Knowledge Management competencies that I chaired – where we got onto how people could and should think about what career path they wanted to steer in life – and engage their line managers in personal review & development discussions accordingly.
  • Someone I met at the DIA conference that I spoke at in Nice last October, that I’ve kept in touch with and who inspired me by the innovation she brought to her work.  I know she reads my blogs: ‘R’ you will know who you are J
  • Two of my local LinkedIn trainees, experience consultants and trainers, who are bravely re-examining what unique offering they can bring to their clients in order to represent that effectively in their LinkedIn summaries and other marketing activities.
  • One of my ex-colleagues who is being made redundant and, like me at that point, realized he’d never thought closely about what he could do in his career, if he had a complete choice, and how difficult it is to begin to do so.

Re-thinking our careers is both scary and exhilarating but there is help available.

Michael Bungay Stanier’s book is a very good, exercise-filled guide to discovering what’s important to you in your work and how you might get to do more of it.  There are other books too that have helped me and that I’ve recommended to others: Steven Covey’s ‘8th Habit’ that I’ve referred to in previous blogs, and ‘Book yourself solid’ by Michael Porter which also has exercises to help you discover what’s important to you and how to get there.

An important piece of advice in many of the books is to find someone, a ‘buddy’ that you can test your ideas with and who can encourage / support you as you embark on this journey.  Sometimes it’s easier to find someone who isn’t your partner or a close member of your family, as they may be finding your re-thinking as scary as you are!

I have found some seminars / workshops quite helpful as well, as they are often safe places to explore new ideas for what you want to do.  In the UK, the government sponsored BusinessLink seminars are examples of these, although the range of seminars has recently been cut back.  I also was fortunate to attend very good ones organised by DBM; I particularly enjoyed ‘Start your own business’ by Andrew Halfacre of Lighthouse 365

Local networking groups can also be great places to explore new ideas about your way forward: many of the people attending are going through similar soul-searching! Though if you are in full time employment, finding the time to attend can be a challenge.

Re-thinking our careers is worth doing whether an employee or self-employed

The extra year that I had with my employer following which I knew I would be made redundant was a tremendous opportunity for me to mentally prepare for my new life.  As I already had some idea of what I would like to do, it also changed my attitude towards my day-to-day work: I could approach it with a ‘self-employed’ attitude.  I believe that people who have consciously re-thought their careers, and decided to pursue them within an organisation, bring so much more to their work, and can gain so much more personal satisfaction from it.

I would be really interested in learning of case studies that people would be willing to share.

I’d like to collect some case studies from people who have re-thought their careers, or are in the process of doing so, and hear your experiences of what has or has not helped you in your personal journey.  Do get in touch if you would like to share your case study with me, and, with your permission, I will share your case study, or the approaches you have found effective, either anonymously, or with your name.

Related Blogs & Notes

1. Taking control of your working life as an employee;  a first 100 days approach?

2. Personal reflections on living through change and… reaching ones potential

3. Elisabeth Goodman is Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, using process improvement, knowledge and change management to enhance team effectiveness.

Follow the links to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, and about Elisabeth Goodman.

5 thoughts on “Building strong personal career paths – do you have a case study to share?”

  1. Elisabeth – sorry to take so long to respond (been on holiday and mail free). Thanks ever so much for mentioning the workshop – I really enjoy doing them and I particularly like the virtuous cycle explained by michael neill; doing what you enjoy means that you are more likely to do it more, doing it more means that you are more likely to get better at it and getting better at it means that you are more likely to enjoy doing it (and so on). The key insight for me is that it is easier to start with things you enjoy. Maybe we should help people rediscover what they most enjoy doing when they are thinking about which career path to follow.


    1. elisabethgoodman

      Andrew I absolutely agree. People often remark about how much energy I have, and it’s very much to do with doing what I enjoy. That, combined with your injunction of doing what your customers ‘are hungry for’ have been two of my guiding principles. So thank you!

  2. Pingback: Banishing the Monday morning blues: Being Exceptional | Elisabeth Goodman's Blog

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