Follow Your Heart in Planning Your Career

Business Photo 12“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” – Henry David Thoreau

Are you one of the many people who more or less “fell into” your current position, simply because a friend or relative worked at the company, or because the company had an opening for which you happened to be qualified? It’s been our experience that people succeed and people fail for exactly the same reason-Job Fit! And building a plan and strategy around this concept is the first critical step in taking back control and direction of your life and your career.

If you’re considering developing a career plan, either because of disillusionment with your current position or downsizing, Paul Sniffin, CPI Baltimore/Washington (New Options Group Talent Solutions), says that coming to grips with this aspect of your work life is the first and most important component of success.

A Five-Step Process

“Finding your passion, and then following it, should be the driving motivation for any career plan,” says Sniffin. He suggests a five-step process for devising a great career plan:

  1. Evaluate your life’s accomplishments – Which things gave you the greatest sense of fulfillment?  (Fulfillment and money are NOT necessarily the same thing.)
  2. Identify the things you should avoid, because they diminish your passion
  3. Test the marketplace around your passion. There may be different types of jobs that can fulfill your passion. Talk to people in those jobs to see what the realities and opportunities are and what kind of skills you need to obtain.
  4. Invest in yourself. Get the skills, credentials, and expertise needed to succeed in the profession you’re passionate about.
  5. Get creative about ways that you can use your current skills and experience to make the transition to your field of dreams.

Dare to Believe

Both younger and older workers should make sure that they strive for good job fit. Make it Work: Navigate Your Career Without Leaving Your Organization by Frodsham and Gargiulo is a book that Sniffin recommends for redefining your career plan within the organization. However, he points out that sometimes you have to make the choice between advancing on the career path you’re on or taking a risk by leaving the organization to find true fulfillment.

Sniffin likes to cite the case of the Chief Nursing Officer at a metropolitan hospital that was gearing up for expansion. While the CNO realized her current role was a significant opportunity most leaders would be delighted to pursue, she realized it would take her further away from her career goals and passion which was to make a difference and to mentor new and inexperienced nurses.  Even relatively late in her career, she realized she had reached a major crossroads and chose the path to fulfillment. She left the “safety” of her current role and sought a new position with a teaching hospital that was more closely aligned with her passion for academia, teaching, and mentoring nursing students, instead of hospital administration.

Whether you’re facing a crossroads, an unexpected career transition because of a layoff, or are just feeling unfulfilled, it’s never too late to dare to believe that you can find career fulfillment. Isn’t it time you got started on your career plan to help you achieve that?

Many Career Partners International firms now offer career counseling and coaching services directly to individuals. If you’d like help in defining or redefining your career plan, contact your local CPI talent management firm to explore the possibilities.


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