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Happiness is a Blance - A Framework For Your Career


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Happiness is a Blance - A Framework For Your Career

  1. 1. a personal framework Career happiness is about balance. This balance needs to happen in three areas: knowing who you are, understanding why you do the things you do, and identify- ing what you actually want to be doing. If you take a step back – away from the day- to-day rat race of endless tasks, meetings,2 pa ge
  2. 2. projects and people – and stop chasing after ence, this is a lifelong pursuit that takes a lot everything in front of you, you can find your of work. It requires setting time aside just for balance. When you do, your career won’t you to work out the complex things that, at just be something you do and it won’t just one point, used to be simple. This paper is an be a job. It will be what makes you happy. attempt to provide a few ideas and resources In short, career happiness is happiness. to help you make sense of this complexity. There is no magic to this. From experi-3 pa ge
  3. 3. WHO ARE YOU UOY ERA OHW Have you ever been lost in something to the point that you lose track of time? Is there a topic that you find yourself gravitating towards in every conversation? If you think about it, there is a core to who you are. The most important thing you can do is embrace it. start with the most important thing – Let’s would argue that this core rarely changes and, YOU! Who are you? If you’re like most people, in fact, defines you. As a result, it is necessary this is a terrifying question to answer. It is hard to invest time in the pursuit of it. Finding your to take time to reflect and confront what really core will help you understand who you real- makes you tick. And in the end, how do you ly are and will help you be comfortable with know if the answers you come up with are right? yourself. Learning how to do this is one of the Realize that “right” is whatever you say it hardest skills to master; however, by not be- is. Self-discovery is a lifelong pursuit to find ing clear about who you are, you leave your- what- at your core- makes you happy. While self open to being defined by others. The only a person can evolve based on experiences, I person who really knows who you are, is you.6 pa ge
  4. 4. To help you answer the question, “Who am ing about what other people think and caring I?” sometimes you must first ask yourself a few more about who you are. It may require you other questions. “What am I most passionate to stop doing things people expect you to do about?” “What are the things that, when I do and investing time away from current family them, I am happiest?” “What are the things that and friends. This is all OK and part of figur- I do that actually make me lose track of time?” ing out who you are. It’s much more fun to Too often we fall into situations where we be fired up about a specific subject or issue do things because they pay the bills, pass than it is to run through life as part of the herd. the time, or because they are what we think Over time, I have discovered some tools we “should do.” What a waste! My chal- and asked myself a series of questions to lenge to you is to find the things you love help figure out my core. These are self diag- to do, play, read, blog about, or discuss nostics that have been proven over the years with your friends and invest in them now. to help discover answers about who you are. many people this is the hardest For The first of these tools is the Myers Briggs thing to do. It requires honesty about what Type Indicator ( My- really gets you going. It requires not worry- ers Briggs helps you understand how you pa7 ge
  5. 5. prefer to interact with the world. For example, shape ideas of things you are good at and it identifies which activities give you energy like to do. This is captured very well in Paul and which drain energy from you. Based and Barbara Tieger’s book, Do What You Are. upon Jungian philosophy, Myers Briggs can Career consultants for over 20 years, the au- map your preferences in four areas that, when thors help demonstrate why certain careers pulled together, represent a personality type. may be more aligned with certain types. This Your type is simply a reflection of char- book is a great refresher on Myers Briggs, as acteristics that, often times, portray how you well as an informative read on various paths move through the world around you. It is nei- you can look into based upon your type. ther definitive, nor perfect. It does, however, me, it was essential to understand my For offer a sense of why you enjoy certain activi- type, and hence, why I gravitated toward cer- ties over others. For instance, some people tain activities. Another book that has helped are built to be the salesperson while oth- me explore who I am is Now, Discover Your ers are predisposed to managing finances. Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham. He argues One is not better than the other, the results that during early development, through exter- just speak to why some people get energy nal exposure and activities, people’s brains from public speaking and being with peo- become wired to work in a certain way. This ple and why others are happy when they leads to one’s “talent” - something that we just are deep into the numbers and the analysis. naturally do well. One then supplements the With this sense of self, you can begin to talent with knowledge and skill, which basical-8 pa ge
  6. 6. Once you open that door, you need to charge through it and lose yourself in it. ly means doing it more and more. The more thing and committing to it. This “one thing” can you do it, the better you will become. Buck- focus on an issue, an activity, or a problem ingham argues that people should put them- that you want to spend time doing or solving. selves in a career that leverages their talent. Once you open that door, you need to Sometimes people will tell me that they charge through it and lose yourself in it. Doors are good at many things and that they want to always lead to other doors. You never know, do them all. While this may be a reflection of one door may lead you to things that inter- the times we live in, my thought is that there sect with other interests. Or, you may find that are a lot of things to be passionate about and it was a bad selection and you need to back you should be aware of all of them and em- out and pick something else. Experimenta- brace them. However, when thinking about tion is OK, no matter what stage or age in life. your career, you have to start by picking one9 pa ge
  7. 7. WHY ARE YOU DOING GNIOD UOY ERA YHW We are constantly balancing – sometimes it feels like juggling – core val- ues in our lives: finances, where we live, family, friends, community, hob- bies and health. How do we decide what to do first and whether we can do it all? To get to happiness, we have to confront why we are doing these things and decide which are really the most important.12 pa ge
  8. 8. THIS MORE THAN THAT TAHT NAHT EROM SIHT W hen thinking about what fires us up that you must prioritize to define the lifestyle and things about which we’re passionate, we that you want to lead. In doing so, you must are often confronted with some ugly truths. understand the worth that each carries and, Our lives are all jam-packed and, as a re- consequently, the trade-offs from prioritiz- sult, there are some big questions we have ing one over another. In carefully analyzing to answer when it comes to prioritizing our what each means to you, you will provide values and balancing everything else. The yourself with a context for your decisions and way we do this forms our “Value Chain.” give yourself a stronger sense of your goals. Specifically, the chain refers to 7 values13 pa ge
  9. 9. These values are: Standard of Living This refers to your income and how you live dren leave the house, do you want to live your life. How much money do you need? close to them? As your parents age, will you What kind of car do you want to drive? How want to live near them to provide support? big will your home be? When will you retire and how much money will you need when you do? Friends How important are your friends to your hap- Location piness? How much time do you want to This references the place where you want to spend with your friends? live. Do you want to live in the city or the sub- urbs? How long do you want your commute Community to be? Do you prefer to be in a particular cli- How involved do you want to be in local ac- mate? Are there people that you want to be tivities? Do you want to volunteer with gov- near? ernment, religious, or local charity organiza- tions? Family Based upon your stage in life, this covers Hobbies a lot of ground and can overlap with Loca- How important are your hobbies to you? tion. For instance, if just out of college, how How much time do you want to devote to close to your parents, siblings and friends do them? you want to be? If you have your own fam- ily, will you work only 9 to 5 to spend more Health time with your children or will you sacri- How are you taking care of your body and fice family time to work longer hours and mind? How often do you exercise, meditate, maybe get that promotion? As your chil- or take vacations? day, you are confronted with how Every with the PTA or community organizations? Af- you will act relative to these values. How of- ter rushing home from work, feeding the kids, ten are you wishing you made more money, helping them with their homework and putting lived in a bigger house, and could get back to them to bed, do you choose to read that book that golf swing or backhand that needs some on your nightstand, call friends, or watch TV? work? How do you decide if you are going to of these questions – and more im- All spend more time with your friends, your fam- portantly – their answers, reflect your values. ily, at church or at the gym? Do you volunteer We all know people, however, who are end-14 pa ge
  10. 10. lessly running from one thing to the next. The lot, served in the military, built a nest egg, put trick is to realize that you can’t do everything. his six children through college, and eventu- You may try to delude yourself into thinking ally retired. When he did, he was ready to do you can, only to find yourself burned out or all of the things we knew he enjoyed, a little bit stretched too thin and not doing any one par- of tennis, some golf, lots of reading, and vol- ticular thing very well. My observation is that unteer teaching. However, while he did these you can successfully handle three of the ar- things and liked them, there was something eas above at one time. I’ve known people else that he didn’t even realize he was missing. that can do four, yet I believe that is pushing it. One day, my sister-in-law asked my father The interesting thing is that figuring out this question: “You’ve done a lot with your life. what you want from each of these values What have you always wanted to do that you’ve is liberating. It makes it easier to do some never tried?” What a freeing and eye opening things better than others. I constantly remind question! The answer was shocking. My dad, myself, as I don’t go to the gym and can’t the tough Marine, said without hesitation that seem to find time for my book, that I’m not he wanted to paint! No one saw that coming, prioritizing- or optimizing -for those things. yet we all embraced it. She bought him sup- Some may think that’s an excuse. I don’t plies and signed him up for classes. When listen to them. I find that the things that I’m he put the paint on the canvas it was magic! optimizing for don’t care about it - especial- turns out that my father is really good It ly when one of those things is my children! at painting. He loses himself picking a sub- Confronting the value chain is a critical ject, putting it to canvas and bringing it to life. balance to who you are and what you do. For Painting is clearly an untapped strength. The instance, some of those things that you are more he does it, the better he gets. I have sev- passionate about - science fantasy books, ten- eral of his paintings in my house. They con- nis, the gym – are things that you have to put on stantly remind me just how much I love him. the back burner. Your values will change over The painting in my office, however, serves time as your life and circumstances change to remind me to not wait until retirement to and it is good to periodically reevaluate them. figure out what I’m most passionate about. me give you an example. My father, Let Life is a marathon and you have to a fantastic educator and administrator, was chart your course, track your progress, good at motivating people and working with push ahead and even hold back along numbers. Over the years, he accomplished a the way to make sure you finish strong.15 pa ge
  11. 11. WHAT IS YOUR CAPSTONE ENOTSPAC RUOY SI TAHW While working in a job, it can seem like there is no clear path to the next one. It is important to understand not only your current job, but also the one you want to have in the future and the skills it takes to do that job. Only then, will you have a clear sense of how to develop and make your vision a reality. clarity on who you are and why you With Star because they don’t know the “who” and want to do something, it is easier to address the “why.” This lends to doing a job that the question of what to do. By picking a pays the bills as opposed to being happy. problem you want to solve, a field you want to Incorporating Dory Hollander’s doom loop be in or a skill that you want to develop, you from her book The Doom Loop System is are creating a North Star. It helps you focus. a good way to start thinking about devel- Many people, however, don’t have this North oping a plan for getting to your North Star. pa18 ge
  12. 12. A s Hollander lays out, imagine the following Y ou originally took a job because you diagram as a progression at a certain job. liked it, not because you were good at it - Square 1. You are challenged every day to learn new things and to master the job. Eventually, as you gain knowledge and ex- perience, you enter Square 2 where you both like your job and are good at it. As your time on the job progresses, you move into Square 3 where you are good at your job, but you don’t like it as much as you used to. You are no longer challenged. Individu- als who find themselves in this position don’t understand that the fundamental problem with their job is themselves and their priori- ties. This often pushes the individual to not perform well and end up on Square 4, not good and not liking it. They blame it on their19 pa ge
  13. 13. manager, coworkers or the malfunctions of ally working on something that motivates you, the office. They start to look for a new job. you are capable of moving mountains to do it. looking for their new job, they believe In Our challenge is to find the motivators, that their value is in what they’ve been do- the things that fire us up. What Hollander ar- ing and, with confidence that they are good gues is that individuals who find themselves at it, they find another place to do the same unhappy in their current career shouldn’t go job where there won’t be that manager, co- looking for a quick fix like the one above. The worker or office problem. They go straight best move is to find a job that will land you in back into Square 2, which accelerates their Square 1 where you have to learn new skills. journey through the loop. They do this be- Like Herzberg, she suggests that you get the cause they feel they have to utilize their most energy there and will stay motivated knowledge base instead of realizing they and committed to the cause in this square need new challenges and problems to solve. the longest. This will delay your trip through Frederick Herzberg got to the core of the loop and help you to feel challenged this issue in his quintessential examination of and satisfied with your career for longer. corporate motivation, One More Time: How Another aspect of this is deciding where Do You Motivate Employees? Herzberg ar- you want to go in your development and gues that there are motivators and hygiene Hollander argues that it is important here factors. Motivators are those problems you to make use of capstones. A capstone is get up to go solve every day. Hygiene fac- a thing you want to do within a certain time tors are those things that get in the way of horizon. Using our earlier work on who you you doing that. Hygiene factors are things are and why you are doing it, figure out a like how much money you make, your office position that interests you. It may be a ten, environment, the people you work with, etc. five or one year goal. The important thing Herzberg’s point is that we work for those is that you have something to shoot for. things that motivate us and we need to find realize how to reach your capstone, To ways to keep the hygiene factors from get- identify the skills it takes to do that job and ting in the way of doing them. If you are re- rate yourself against it by saying if you like20 pa ge
  14. 14. CAPSTONE project manager it or don’t like it and if you are good at it or not. As you apply yourself and get better at certain skills, find ways to take on others. For example, as an assistant project man- skills needed good not good like don’t like ager who wants to be the project manager, one of the skills you might need to work ondelivery is your presentation skills. Ask your boss for opportunities to present at internal meet-progress reports ings in order to practice presenting materi- als to clients. Another example might beclient management to provide opportunities on the things you have mastered to people more junior thanproject billing you. This will give you the experience of managing other people while also freeingteam management you up to work on other skills you need to acquire. If you know the skills you need,personnel actions there are numerous ways to develop them.administrative tasks One way to determine the skills you need is to seek out individuals who have the ca-sales reer that interests you and interview them. As Dale Carnegie said in How to Win Friendsfunding proposal and Influence People, an innate nature in all of us is to help people who are looking tocost estimation you for advice. Take advantage of this and talk to people to see what they tell you aboutproduction the skills they utilize in their work and how you can begin to learn those skills. I havepresentations found that alumni networks and career devel- opment offices at your college or universitycommunications are fantastic avenues for figuring this out.21 pa ge
  15. 15. PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER22 pa ge
  16. 16. Finding balance among these three ar- the distraction and hunt for the “what” to eas – who you are, why you do the things you inform the others. This is backwards and do, and clarity on what you want to be doing very hard to do. Until you take time to fig- – will change your life. The important thing to ure out the “who” and “why,” you will have remember, however, is that life is a marathon a hard time getting everything into balance. with a changing end point. While you’re run- In addition, it is necessary to involve men- ning the race, you will at some point reinvent tors and advisors in figuring this out. Mentors yourself. According to the Department of La- and advisors can be family, friends, bosses, bor, in today’s workforce you will have over 10 professors - whoever inspires and motivates different jobs over the course of your career.1 you. Throughout your life, it is important to When I’ve switched jobs, I have reinvented have honest conversations about yourself myself a little bit every time. The whole rea- with these people. They will tell you if you are son I developed this framework was to have a having a real conversation about who you are benchmark I could use along the way. It was and why you are doing something. They will something that I could use to gauge how I was also know if you are really happy. If they are doing and what I needed to be thinking of next. true mentors and advisors, they will tell you Along this path, it is important to fight the the truth and give honest feedback about your myth of being able to do it all and get straight approach. These people are special in your As. Realize that you are happier when you life and you must cultivate and treasure them. are pursuing the A. In addition, know that no Finally, there is no quick fix. The short one is expecting that you can do it all and story of this framework is that it is a career get straight As along the way. If someone is to manage your career. The trick is that your demanding that of you, then share your value career is not just about what you are doing. chain with him and see if he still feels that way! It is about understanding yourself first and may also go without saying, yet I am It then what you are optimizing for out of life. compelled to remind you, that it is critical If you short change any of these aspects, to focus on who you are and why you are you will be out of balance and will struggle doing anything before you figure out the with happiness. I hope that you are able to “what.” Too often we don’t take the time spend some time on all aspects of this frame- to answer the hard questions first and use work, find your passion and GO FOR IT! 1. pa ge
  17. 17. RESOURCES SECRUOSER The Doom Loop System by Dory Hollander Do What You Are by Paul and Barbara Tieger One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees? by Frederick Herzberg Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, a knowledge network of 60,000 government employees, is proud to work with Frank DiGiammarino on providing this guide to its members. For more resources on managing your government career check out: -Podcast series with Frank DiGiammarino - -GovLoop Career Guide - keep-leap-your-government-career24 pa ge