When thinking about evolving or changing a career, a lot of people get defeated before they even really begin. They might get excited about all the possibilities out there, and then they draw a dotted line to where they are currently.
They look at themselves through someone else’s lens, and fail to see an accurate picture.
“I don’t have the experience,” they say, and the disappointment continues.
But does it have to be?
The problem with job descriptions
It’s easy to put together a list of what we do every day. We’re all busy, right? First this, then that, and before we know it, we’re out the door and back home again.
I’m sure you have a long list of activities that fills your day. It might seem like a bounty of ammunition for your job search, but somehow it feels flat.
Because most of them were probably defined by your employer before you even got there. And if you’re focused on how your employer defines your role, then you’re basically acknowledging that you’re not unique. And if you’re not unique, what does that mean?
Yeesh, there has to be a better way to look at it.
Skills vs. tasks
Everything you do might have a result or a process attached to it, but there’s a skill behind it.
A report you produced needed business writing skills; a briefing required presentation skills, and a dash of salesmanship; a business plan required strategic thinking (and financial planning, setting performance targets, and a whole host of other skills).
A programmer might be so deep into his daily routine that all he sees are the lines of code he generates. And yet he might be an outstanding project manager, getting that new release out on time and on budget.
Once you begin to focus on your skills instead of your formal duties, the possibilities for becoming a Career Nomad open up. Way up.
Focus on portability
That project managing programmer might start poking around his company’s Project Management Office (often a centre of expertise), who is happy to hire on someone with recent, operational experience.
And since so many roads pass through the PMO, that programmer is now building relationships with every high-profile project manager in the organisation, along with pretty much all corporate areas as well.
With just one jump – using his portable skills – that programmer now has a menu to choose from. Maybe he’ll go back to programming because he loves it so much. Or maybe he’ll find another hub that will offer another dozen choices.
Sometimes these moves can be mapped out for years, and sometimes it’s fun to just take it one step at a time.
But no matter how far we’re looking ahead, it’s incredibly important to see our present state for the wonderful treasure trove it is.
You’re much, much more than your job title.
So the question isn’t: what do you do?
It’s: where do you want to go?
What are some unconventional career jumps you could make right now? Tell us in the comments!