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Do you ever feel afraid that depression is hunting you down? I used to hate myself. Although I would occasionally feel as though there was something of value within me, it was so deep inside an internal vat of muck and self-loathing, it was never …
On the hunt for job hunting advice (am I going in circles?), you will find the phrase transferrable skills. Do you know what they are, and do you have any? Well done if you do. But even then, do you know how to sell those skills? I was working with the Queensland Government, in Australia when they brought in the Capability and Leadership Framework (CLF). The concept, as I overheard at the time, was that all job descriptions would have essentially the same key criteria. At first, it sounded quite strange, and all I understood came from vague conversation and eavesdropping on colleagues. But it’s actually an excellent framework for analysing your transferable skills, and the website even has checklists to help you assess yourself. Okay, it all looks very governmental and is written as such, but the key points to focus on are there:
– Supports strategic direction / Shapes strategic thinking
– Achieves results
– Supports/Cultivates productive working relationships
– Displays/Exemplifies personal drive and integrity
– Communicates with influence
Thinking about it this way makes it really easy to assess yourself for transferrable skills. How well do you understand your role in the context over the overall organisation? What are your greatest achievements, and what planning do you do to ensure you succeed? What networks do you have? What motivates you? How to you promote your ideas? Notice how none of these questions are job-specific? That’s how you think about transferrable skills.
If you’re thinking to yourself “I can’t get a job in recruitment, I’m just a volunteer at an animal shelter (or any other example that comes to mind)”, think about how what you do now affects those around you. Do you have great conversations with suppliers/visitors/peers? Have you ever found a solution to a problem? Do you take pride in what you do? Then you have transferrable skills.
During a routine LinkedIn profile review, Sheldon Cooper came to mind: “I need answers. I need to determine where, in this swamp of unbalanced formulas, squatteth the toad of truth.” The Toad of Truth was that this was not a routine review. This client had …
I have a friend who is highly successful in his field. He doesn’t seem aware that he has done well for himself. High grades through school, scholarships, placements, and he’s now in a very prestigious job. None of it seems to matter to him. It’s not that he doesn’t value what he has, it just that he still doesn’t think it’s as much of an achievement that everyone else thinks it is. The other day I realised why this could be. None of his achievements are his own.
Have you ever found yourself in that situation? You’re being told you’re good at your work, but you’re not sure? Perhaps you wonder if you really belong there.
It’s common for successful people to feel as though they don’t deserve to be where they are. Part of it comes from a competitive environment, but it also comes from the feeling of control. Sometimes we feel as though we aren’t in control of our our lives and it’s a negative feeling about negative situations. The car broke down, your colleague got the day off you both asked for, the dog puked on your bed. You have no control and it’s all just rotten. But it is possible to have the same uncomfortable feeling when things are going well, such as promotions, networking opportunities or free gifts. It not the actual outcome that’s making you feel uncomfortable. It’s the obligation that you never asked for. It’s still a feeling of not being in control.
In the case of my friend, he was naturally good at schoolwork. All his school-related decisions were made by his teachers. When school was finishing he didn’t choose something he was passionate about. He let the course choose him by offering a scholarship. His excellent grades got him a good job placement, which lead to good jobs but these jobs were orchestrated by his network and colleagues rather than by himself. By 30 years old he managed to get to the top of his field without the feeling personally achieving anything. He was missing the sense of accomplishment.
Resetting your confidence
You can fix this feeling without giving up everything you’ve earned (even if you don’t feel as though you’ve earned it). All you need to do is change one thing. It could be your job, if you want. But it could also be a change of hobby, a new routine or even a new wardrobe. Find one simple thing that is your decision and own it. It will build your confidence and calm your nerves to know that there is at least one thing in your life that is entirely your own doing. But guess what? He’s just gotten a new job. Same industry, different role. It includes travel. Everything will be new and he’s experiencing a new feeling – control of one’s own destiny.
It’s never too late to experience something new. Is something stopping you from taking a chance and making a change?
You thought you had it made. A friend set you up with an interview at their workplace. Surely your success is guaranteed! After all, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, right? But they still employed someone else. What happened? I gave a …
Are you struggling to find your true calling? Are you working, but wondering why you don’t love your job the way you think you should? Perhaps it’s time to talk to your inner child.
Despite an endless assortment of careers in the world, our options tend to feel limited. This begins from the very first time someone asks you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” When I was asked this in preschool, I replied “I want to paint wooden toys”. Oddly specific!
My answer was connected to a wooden train set. It was elegant, with smooth maroon, navy, dark green and black paint and it made me happy just to look at it. I thought I would like to put that rich coloured paint onto wooden toys, just like some unknown person had done to that lovely train. Marie Kondo may have only been in preschool herself at that stage, but that train sure sparked joy.
The grown-up response I received to my oddly specific statement was, “Oh, you want to be an artist”.But I didn’t like drawing and painting that much. A few years later, I realised I loved maths. Then the adults around me said, “Maybe you’ll be an accountant”. Pity that finance and tax was my least favourite part of maths.
We ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, as if being an adult is – literally – a piece of cake. Pick one that seems good, follow the recipe and be.that.cake. Our choices are limited to the cakes we’ve seen before. As a kid who loved maths, I didn’t know I was already collecting the ingredients to be an advertising statistician, economics journalist or a computer game developer (or this sales analyst for an adult toy company that really loves his job!). All I knew was that maths was an ingredient in “Accountant”.
Think about what gave you joy as a child, way back as young as you can remember, and consider this: kids don’t know what’s good for them, they just know emotions. There’s not a lot of thought about money, life purpose or obligation to society. But at some point, the games and make-believe stop (well, for most of us). When did you stop, and why? Other commitments, schoolwork or sports? Peer pressure to sell your Pokémon cards and hang out at the mall instead? Chances are it was an external influence. You didn’t wake up one day to find that you no longer enjoyed playing.
It’s time to tune in to your inner child!
1. What did you do for fun as a kid? What games did you like, what role did you play in those games?
2. What subjects did you like the most at school?
3. Where was your favourite place to be? Running around outside, in your room, at a friend’s house? Why did that location make you happy?
These three questions above tap into your inner child’s mind, body and soul. Does your current job feed into these?
I don’t paint wooden toys and I’m not an accountant. I liked owning my role in team games, and I loved playing make-believe at home. Now I have an autonomous role within a large team. My love of maths and that gorgeous train were actaully a love of logic and the satisfaction of seeing a job completed, knowing that I helped make that happen. Now I thrive on project work focused on process improvement.
What is your inner child telling you to do?