ALIGNING WITH YOUR CAREER PATH
In the world of work and business, there are two key players that influence these spaces. You may look at it from the top, where leadership comes in or from the perspective of the team player. Although each party is hugely significant in the outcome of the work or business, they independently do so on two separate paths. Usually, the leadership, which may be the owner of the business or a top-level executive is driven by passion; something they are using to create wealth. The other, the work is moved by ambition and promotions and other tangible valuables such as remuneration.
Although each individual may have different passions that affect their output, productivity, relationships and growth, they struggle with their definition – who they are. Our jobs and businesses have their own way of running us through the mill and placing us in positions where we need to reconsider or choices, our goals, our dreams and more importantly, our definition. We are faced with grueling questions about who we are and what we are meant to do. Now, whilst it has its disadvantages such as self-doubt, and stunted productivity, when we come to an understanding of ourselves and master self-management, it creates room for innovation, creativity, career progression, succession, entrepreneurial mindset and much more even at the highest levels.
So, how do you know which path to choose? Are leaders born or made? Do people consciously decide to be followers or they accidentally fall into such roles? What is the psychology of individuals who choose the corporate path, entrepreneurial path or make a transition from one to another?
As children growing up, I am sure we have been familiar with moments where our parents asked us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Some of us come up with answers whether or not we really want to be those things, and others simply do not know. The bottom line is, all of us struggle with making one of the most important decisions of our lives; determining the desired career for our lives. Career choice is often dictated by different stages in the thought about vocation that span across age and development: the fantasy period, tentative period, and realistic period (Berk, 2014). Many young people never make a career decision, Krumboltz says. They simply follow a path of least resistance. Summer jobs become permanent ones; family or friends pressure young people towards options that avoid temporary unemployment. In early childhood we become aware of the concept of an occupation, and are typically drawn to those that we find to illustrate excitement, prestige, and the overarching implication that the chosen profession is, at its core, a desirable fit (Berk, 2014).
Our understanding of professions gradually develops into a more comprehensible perspective, where we evaluate desired professions based on our interests, values, abilities, and based on the requirements and responsibilities of given professions (Berk, 2014). Eventually we accept the practical realities of the world — realizing the personal, economic, academic, and even geographic contingencies that relate to a particular profession — and we tend to evaluate our career choice based on more specific criteria, such as our education, job placement, and the more narrowed category of jobs with which we could be qualified, competent, and interested in performing (Berk, 2014). We understand how our choices are narrowed by our reality, but what influences these choices? There are a variety of influences, including individual personality, but there are also numerous factors like socioeconomic status and availability that influence career choice and leads to greater success and satisfaction. Krumboltz touched on this when he discussed among his colleagues the harm of occupationism. “The harm is that people are often dissuaded from going into occupations in which they would be quite successful and happy because these occupations are not ranked high enough in the prestige hierarchy. “A classic case is the occupation of teacher. I remember well the snide comments that were made in undergraduate school about those members of our class who were planning to be teachers. But good teachers make immensely important contributions to our society.
The Holland Theory looks at how people tend to seek out jobs that mesh with their attributes. Additionally, you could make the argument that being in such a field could influence one’s behaviour and further develop those traits in an individual. In this way, a particular vocation that has specific behaviours associated with it may encourage those behaviours, and thus the development of that individual, and further the development of specific personality traits in people after they have engaged in that career.
We may have the freedom to choose our occupation and Furnham (2001) suggests that, in alignment with Holland’s theory, personality plays a key role in that choosing. However, it is important to address the constraints that exist in career choice, as an individual you may have ideological but not practical freedom of choice in terms of career due to factors like social class, education, and local economics (Furnham, 2001). Oftentimes people want to drift into jobs and find themselves in a particular career or operating in an industry that was also not spawned from free choice, but from chance or available opportunity (Furnham, 2001).
Finally, Frank Parson’s Trait & Factor Vocational Theory (1920) consists 3 parts which he believed were necessary for professionals to make career choices. Firstly, before seeking a job, you must have a clear understanding of your traits as a person. What are your highlights and lowlights? Secondly, what do you know about the industries you are interested in? Last but not the least, having an objective judgment of the connection between what your individual traits are and what the labor market is looking for. In simple words, be clear and honest internally about who you are and what you are qualified to do in the said industry.
Whether we find ourselves working corporate jobs or being entrepreneurs, I have come to a realization that moments that question our beliefs are moments for transformation. If you have found yourself at crossroads, needing to take a path, here are 4 keys to guide you. It is only the beginning to fully growing into yourself and aligning with your career path.
Self-awareness is key for every person, not just in leaders. It is fundamental and foundational in seeking clarity for what truly gives you joy. Self-awareness is about understanding yourself, what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are and how you can use them to create the life you want. So ask yourself, “Who are you? Where do you want to be? What do you stand for? How can you tie in what you are good at and the work you do to make impact?”. Meaningful work is found at the intersection of where you use your unique strengths in a purpose that you believe in.
- Desire & Decide
After we discover our true selves, we begin to desire new things. Our interests take new paths and whether or not we have a responsibility in an existing role, we owe it to ourselves to explore these interests. You will find that you desire one thing or maybe several. Open yourself up to find what is truly for you. You will go through several twists and turns until you gradually narrow down and pick something you can build boldly and consistently.
After you have surpassed the self-awareness and decision phases, you must generate the energy to always be one step ahead. Even when you do not see the need to act, even if you do not see what is ahead, you must act like someone who is in a higher position than you already are, as confidently as possible, without neglecting your current duties. In finding fulfillment, you will evolve into an executor not an initiator. “l believe that 90% of employees are executors, but it is the other 10% who initiate, who do things that they are not asked to do, who move up the ladder the quickest,” Teach says. What are others not doing? Always be prepared to do what others are reluctant to do. As you stand up to do these things, you will become outstanding.
This is the stage of make or break. It is the stage where we have to make the sacrifice to go after our desired path. We have to decide whether to stay with the corporate career space and deliver intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial value with unparalleled effort and alignment or whether to veer off into new worlds of travel and entrepreneurial adventure. Action enables you to live your decision; to be accountable and responsible and give your all. Whatever you decide, all that matters is doing. Follow through with action what you desire.
We must remember that, whichever path we choose at whatever stage in life must lead to us fulfilling our professional passion we call work. It is always recommended that you seek coaching guidance to enable you gain clarity of purpose along the way. Some identify it early, some along the way and some later in life. Ultimately the true excitement of the journey is not in the years spent but in the purpose achieved and fulfilled.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017. She has also been featured on CNN.
She can be reached on email@example.com and @dzigbordi across all social media platforms.