Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 26th 2013 Contents B3
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Discover yourself and your purpose
2. Finding out what you want
Now that you know who you
are, the next stage is to think about
what you want to do.
For your life to be balanced and
fulfilled, your career must be
aligned with who you are: Other-
wise you'll be unhappy with work,
and you'll probably underachieve.
After all, ill-fitting jobs demand
different talents from the ones that
you have. If you try to pursue a
career path that is at odds with
your values, your beliefs, and your
way of seeing the world, then you'll
struggle constantly and be under
a great deal of stress and pressure.
The starting point is to do some
brainstorming on the jobs that you
think would suit who you are. We'll
then confirm this with some dif-
ferent psychometric tests, and then
extend this list with some more
You then need to spend some
time researching the top careers
i. Exploring the options you
Starting with your "Who I Am"
statement, start thinking about all
of the jobs you can see that would
suit you someone with the talents
and interests in that statement (by
depersonalising it in this way, you
help to avoid "being too close to
Starting here is particularly
important if you're already estab-
lished in a career: It's important
to capitalise where you can on the
experience and contacts you've
already built up, compared with
ditching everything and starting
completely afresh (while this
sounds glamorous and enticing, it
puts you in the position of com-
peting equally with other career
starters, who may be much
younger than you.
On the other hand, if you're pro-
foundly unhappy with your com-
pany, industry and profession, a
radical career change may be the
So start by asking yourself if
your current role can be adapted
to suit you much better; if there
are other roles within your existing
company that would be worth try-
ing; or whether similar roles in
other organisations might be more
Once you've done this, extend
out and brainstorm the other
ii. Using Career Tests:
The next stage is to use online
career tests to explore options that
you might have missed.
Useful ones are:
Free, but limited career selection
Princeton Review Career Quiz
Chargeable (but inexpensive, and
with good selections of possible careers):
iii. Thinking Further:
The unavoidable flaw with these
career tests is that they're based on
backward-looking data, and can only
cope with the major career types.
Because of this, they can't recommend
new careers, nor do they know about
less well-known careers.
Using the test results as a starting
point, do some brainstorming to see if
there are new technology careers which
demand similar personality types, or
if there are more obscure careers that
may also be open.
iv. Pulling this together
You'll now have identifies a wide
range of possible careers open to you.
Now's the time to cut these down and
prioritise them. We're not asking you
to choose one now, but to cut down to
your top 5 or 6 choices (the reason
being that when you start researching
these careers, some of them may turn
out to be quite bad!)
Again, if you're having trouble pri-
oritizing, use paired comparison analysis
to rank your choices.
v. Perform Career Research
Armed with a solid understanding
of how you can participate in fulfilling
work, you now need to research the
various options you have to make
money doing so.
Career research is not something
many people relish, but it is necessary
in order to eliminate choices that seem
to be great fits on the surface but really
won't align with your mission and pur-
Yes, this is quite tedious. But think
about the consequences of getting
Surely it's worth spending time
exploring your options, rather than a
lifetime kicking yourself for making a
Methods for researching careers
• Researching the career using sites
like Acinet.org, so that you can under-
stand industry trends, job pay levels,
qualifications needed, job availability,
• Conducting your own PEST Analy-
sis to confirm your own view of likely
• Reading industry/career magazines
and get a sense of how "happy" the
industry is, who the major players in
it are, and what the issues and problems
within it are. Also, looking at job vacan-
cies to see if the career is in demand.
• Understanding what talents and
personalities make people successful
in the career, and mapping these back
against your own talents and person-
• Attending professional and trade
• Participating in job fairs.
• Visiting company websites, and
keep an eye on how companies are
talked about in the press.
• Understanding where organisations
are based, and deciding if you're pre-
pared to travel to interviews, and per-
haps to move.
• Working part time and/or season-
ally in the industry.
3. Answering "How do I get
In this last phase you answer, "What
am I going to do to get hired?"
With your "Who I Am" statement
and your research as your compass,
now you need to actually map your
progress. Many people tend to move
from their purpose right into job search
mode. This is a mistake because unless
you have a plan, it is far too easy to get
derailed by a lucrative job offer, an
opening that Uncle Vinny has, a job
that sounds really glamorous, or a whole
host of other distractions.
Develop your plan first and you re
more likely to get where you want to go,
• Start by writing down the career
you want. What is your long-term
vision for yourself in terms of your
• Write down the steps you need to
take or the things you need to accom-
plish, in order to get there. What qual-
ifications should you get? What expe-
rience should you build? Which
organisation will give you the best start?
• For each of these steps create a
detailed implementation plan.
• These are your short term goals.
• Be sure to express as SMART objec-
• Go back and identify contingency
• Do a "what if" analysis on your
goals "If you don't get accepted to grad
school this year, what will you do?"
Now you are free to pursue your
dream career with confidence. There
are certainly no guarantees but with
the right amount of planning and a
sufficient dose of reality, the career that
you are meant for will materialise.
Signs a career direction evaluation
may be in order:
• Your job lacks challenge and excite-
ment for you.
• You are feeling unappreciated.
• Your promotional and/or devel-
opment opportunities are limited.
• You are no longer having fun.
• Learning is replaced with routine.
• You sense that your skills and tal-
ents are being wasted.
• You are suffering from stress or
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