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How to navigate your career
Career conversations with your Manager
How to sculpt your job to make it what you want
What is career satisfaction? Interests, motivations, and abilities
Networking Interview with Tiffany Ish: Work Life Balance and Career Tips
Reader question: How to Ask for Time Off
Reader question: How to sign emails
The 3 Ingredients of Career Satisfaction Transcript
Welcome to Podcast #9 of the Classy Career Girl podcast! I hope you are having a great week and I am so excited that you are listening to this podcast today. I just finished a great coaching call with a client and I am so inspired and pumped to help you all with every blog post I write and podcast I do. So, let me tell you what I have in store for you today!
First, I have been getting a lot of requests to go over the information that I am teaching at my work. The course is called how to navigate your career, so I wanted to share some of the things in the course that I think would be really important for you to know as well.
Then, we are going to listen to the interview with Tiffany Ish who is an entrepreneur. She started her own jewelry design company and is also a blogger at a great blog called I am Stylish and I can’t wait to share her work life balance and career tips for you.
Then, I am going to answer your questions at the end of the podcast.
Career Satisfaction & Navigating Your Career
So this week I taught my first online course at my work and the course is called how to navigate your career. There are some really important tips in the course about career satisfaction, and I wanted to share them with you today.
Over several decades, countless studies have been conducted to discover what makes people feel satisfied at work. Research has found that interests, motivators, and abilities are the 3 factors that lead to career satisfaction.
Now a question for you – Which one of these three factors do you think is most directly correlated with career satisfaction?
Actually, career interests are the most important of the three factors because interests are a part of our core and are stable and they stay with you through your lifetime and we will explore this more on future slides. So now I want to dive deeper into the definitions of each of these key factors.
First interests: The definition of interests are things that are deeply held that you absolutely connect with – you want to learn more about topics. An example of this is if you really love analysis or new technology. These stay with you throughout your lifetime. My nephew is fascinated by legos and he has an entire room filled with legos. He I am sure will be connected to engineering and building activities for the rest of his life just like his father was because he has an interest in the inner workings of things.
My high interests in the Career Leader assessment are coaching and mentoring and when I look back at my childhood, I was always helping my group of friends put together goals and since I was the first one to apply to college, I helped all my friends with the application process and test process so that they could get into their dream college as well. My other personal high is influencing others and I remember when I was in 2nd grade, I started a save the earth club and even though there was only one other person in the club, I made it my goal and mission to save the earth and would tell everyone I came into contact with that their showers were too long and that they were leaving lights on in rooms that they weren’t even in.
I was always trying to persuade people and even had a grand plan of writing a book and persuading others in written communication. Even today I still have that dream of writing a book, although I am not sure it will be about my save the Earth club when I was in 2nd grade, but I today really still want to influence others by writing a book and hope to do that someday.
And then we have motivators, which can also sometimes be called values. These are the rewards each of us needs. Some examples of motivators are flexibility, lifestyle, and intellectual challenge. Motivators are really important to be aware of to make sure you are aligned in a job correctly and it is also important to remember that your motivators can change based on your current life situation.
One of my motivators is altruism which means that I have satisfaction of regularly helping others with their individual and business concerns and this fits perfectly in my role at work as a consultant because I get to help my client, a manager of a Navy ship program, meet all of his budget and schedule requirements and deadlines, and I get satisfaction out of that.
And third, we have abilities which are your skills – this is what we focus more on at most companies. We focus on competencies. But this is just one part – skills are like muscles, you build them up if you must also have an interest in them to want to be satisfied in your career. Some people are drawn to career paths because they have the ability and like the rewards, even though they aren’t interested. After a short period of success, they lose interest and either quit or just work less productively. All that to say – we focus on the three things when we define career satisfaction.
I also wanted to introduce you to the concept of job sculpting.
Job Sculpting involves looking for ways in which you can leverage your interests in your current job. A good analogy here is if you think of a sculptor. They have a clump of clay and can add to it and take away from it. Think of your job description in the same way. You can make small adjustments here and there to adjust your alignment of your interests and the tasks that need to get done. This works best when you can identify win-win situations, where there is a benefit to you, but also where you can add value to your boss and company.
The goal for job sculpting is that your career interests are aligned with your team’s needs and what you need. So how does this work? Employees take the lead to navigate their own career and managers also do their part to help their employees. When both are doing this and you have really productive career conversations and that is when things get aligned. So we are going to roll up our sleeves and talk about job sculpting.
Think about the aspects of your work that you love even if they are hard and then the other parts that you aren’t as satisfied with that maybe you have outgrown. Think about what is on your plate, and where can you make small adjustments. This is not about applying to a new job or project, this is really about small adjustments in your current job. So, we are going to move through a sculpting activity to help you walk away with something that is actionable.
For me, what I am doing right now is an example of how I have used job sculpting in my own career. My interests are influencing others and coaching and mentoring and so I love training and mentoring new hires on my team in San Diego but I knew I wanted to do more of those things that I was really enjoying. So, I applied to become an adjunct instructor and here I am today. My daily job is the same, but I am adding little things that really interest and motivate me and make me happier in the long run.
Another really important thing to think about and be ready for is how to have a career conversation with you manager. This is a three-step framework for effective career conversations. Before it is important to PREPARE and understand yourself, being clear about what you want from your career, clarifying your purpose and desired outcome of the conversation.
Then the middle is the DISCUSSION where you will share information, disclose thoughts, put across ideas for development, ask for support. Here you will use your listening skills and ask open questions. Make sure you pick up on verbal and non-verbal signs from your manager and clarify points and seek agreement on any decisions. (click next 5 times)
And then the end is the FOLLOW UP. Agree on next steps, especially what you are going to do and timelines, don’t overload your manager, ensure that the actions are being recorded to keep you on track. And then throughout make sure that there is TRUST- be sensitive to your manager, be open, relaxed, non-defensive.
As you prepare, you want to ensure that you have a clear focus for your conversation. Here are some ideas that other people have had about how to start the conversation:
- I’d like to talk about options for taking on more responsibility in my current role.
- Id’ like to share some ideas I have on how to leverage my career interests in my current role
- I’d like to explore options for a new project since this one is ending soon.
Do any of the above scenarios resonate with where they are right now?
In order to try and maximize the time you have for these discussions, it’s also helpful to recognize that both you and your manager are bringing different perspectives and concerns to the table.
This approach is essentially about planning and conducting a conversation from two perspectives, your own and that of the other person, to help to understand some for the underlying concerns or feelings that might be impacting on trust and the quality of the conversation. This is a really useful approach when trying to achieve career alignment, where you are looking for win-win solutions.” The key point is that both of you have different expectations, concerns, and gaps in knowledge.
When it comes to career conversations, managers often feel under pressure to come up with all the answers, that employees may expect them to have a career path in mind for them. They also worry about employees expecting too much, too soon.
Managers are aware that they need to take the time to find out about what employees really want but are then unsure about what to do with the information. From the employee side, the more you can consider your manager’s perspective and fill in the gaps the easier you make their job. If you can come up with ideas and solutions that the manager responds positively to then you have succeeded. This perspective is important to keep in mind as you plan for an effective career discussion.
So, step one is sharing that with them and then brainstorming with them how you can sculpt your role. I know it sounds difficult but once you initiate and just start the conversation and put it out there, it gets really simple and you will feel much better that you have talked about it with your manager and it makes it so much easier for your manager to help you if you are open and honest.
It can be great to prepare for a career conversation with a mentor and have them help you try to anticipate what your manager may be concerned about and have ideas ready to mitigate some of those issues.
Work Life Balance Interview with Tiffany Ish
Another part of career satisfaction is how to have a balance between the time you work and the time you have for the rest of your life. So now let’s listen to the interview with Tiffany Ish who is an entrepreneur and blogger! I can’t wait to share her advice and tips about why she decided to start her own jewelry design company and her tips about work-life balance.
Alright, I hope you enjoyed the interview with Tiffany! My favorite parts of the interview was listening to why she started her own company – I always find it interesting what makes people make that jump and also I loved her advice to keep your options open and if you want to do something else, it is OK to stray from that path. Definitely keep your options open even if you don’t think it is possible, it’s possible. Go and do it.
So let’s answer your questions now!! Here’s today question:
I have a question I need to ask you and I always appreciate your articles. They are very helpful, especially for me since I am just in my second year out of college and in the real world! So my question is based off a situation I have gotten myself into… I talked to my boss about taking two weeks off in June without pay. Typically we only get time off without pay for emergency situations. A trip with my family clearly isn’t an emergency, but I would have had to save up ALL of my time off from the beginning of working here just to be able to take this trip in June… and there has been a family emergency, sick days and funerals in between that time. The thing is that our plane tickets are already booked and I can’t go back on the vacation now.
My question then is how can I be the most professional in going to a meeting to discuss if it is okay for me to take this time off without pay?
So here is my answer:
Your boss has already approved it so that is great! I would walk into HR confident because your boss is really the one that matters. The HR person isn’t going to be promoting you anytime soon. It sounds to me more like a paperwork issue that they are going to have to deal with. Definitely have those options ready to go and ready to present. They are great options and perfectly reasonable I think. Rehearse exactly what you are going to say and don’t let them say no!
And don’t be afraid to say that you already booked the trip. You could even say that you thought you would have more time off accrued by now but the funeral or sickness unexpectedly came up. Hope this helps! Thanks for reading!
Our next questions is:
I’m always lost on how to sign email correspondence…. Best, Regards, Best Regards, Sincerely, Take Care, Cheers, etc.
I really don’t have an answer here because I think it depends on you and your personality. For most people where I work, we sign v/r, which means very respectfully. This would probably not work in other workplaces. The others I see a lot is Best, which I think if it works for you then do it.
For me, I don’t really like best because I just don’t think it fits me. I think it is important, however, that you sign it in a way that works for you and your personality and make it like your statement and your signature, kind of a part of who you are. And make sure to check with your work, too because they may require you to sign it a certain way.
If you are confused and don’t know what to do, look how others sign their emails and copy that until you can find the right fit of signature for you.
So that’s it for today! Thanks so much for listening and I hope you learned alot about career satisfaction and how to grow!! I hope you have a great rest of the day and I will talk with you next week!
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