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Career Conundrum

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

As an executive coach I recieve many emails from potential clients who are looking to change career or seeking career advice. As a starting point I always advocate that the individual takes a little time to define what their 'Career Drivers' are.

What are 'Career Drivers'? I hear you ask - in essence, different people are motivated by one or two key values. They are not usually intellectual decisions but powerful internal imperatives. If these personal values are not met, the chances are the individual may feel unfulfilled. A ‘career driver’ is an inner force which determines what you want and need from your working life. They give us energy and direction to pursue our goals. If you are not in tune with them then you are possibly following someone else’s expectation and could feel de-motivated and unfulfilled.

Once you find what drives you professionally, it is a lot easier to set performance benchmarks for yourself and put together goals and plans that will be easier for you to accomplish.

If all this resonates with you, or if you're curious that you're on the right path in your working life, go through the list of 'career drivers’ below and choose two which best describe you and your situation:

1. Material rewards. You strive for possessions, wealth and a high standard of living.

2. Power/Influenced. You seek to be in control of people and resources. You want to be in a position to make decisions and affect policies. (You might be uncomfortable in a subordinate position but feel you would flourish when you achieve a measure of power.)

3. Search for meaning. You wish to do things which are believed to be valuable for their own sake. (You look to satisfy your moral, emotional or spiritual values and will work for things you perceive to be more important than your self.)

4. Expertise. You desire a high level of accomplishment in a specialised field.

5. Creativity. You want to innovate and be identified with original output. (You prize originality; whether artistic or entrepreneurial and often like working alone or in small teams.)

6. Affiliation. You require nourishing relationships with others at work. (The job itself is not so important so long as you feel close to and can bond with colleagues.)

7. Autonomy. You want to be independent and able to make key decisions for yourself. (You hate bureaucracy, rules and constraints and strive to make your own choices.)

8. Security. You seek a solid, predictable future and want to feel unstressed about the future. (You feel you would most enjoy working in well-known 'blue chip' organisations.)

9. Status. You need to be recognised, admired and respected. (You enjoy being a member of special groups. Not necessarily related to social class: for example, someone who could have a status such as a social media influencer.)

Now you've defined what drives you in your working life you can either pat yourself on the back for being on the right path or, if you're not, you can start to strategise and move forward in a direction that's more appropriate for you.

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