Changing careers? Go with the glow!

This is the second blog in the series: After Career Change: the Happy Hour.

career change: go with the glowA career change usually has the aim of making you happier than you were in your old career. Otherwise, why would you want a change?

Hitting the target of being happier in your new career than in your old one is not a given, unfortunately. To achieve that target, you have to be able to keep your balance, even when the going gets tough.

How do you keep your balance when you are changing careers and ensure a happy end?

Keeping your balance

Keeping your balance has a lot to do with how you judge and experience what happens to you. In that regard there are two different ways of dealing with the world:

  • Inside out
  • Outside in

It’s much easier to keep your balance and experience happiness from the inside out than from the outside in. Let’s explain.

From the inside out: you determine the experience

When you look at the world from the inside out, you and what you want determines how you judge the situation you face.

When you start from inside out, looking outside you will find a situation where you are free to find and interpret what factors you can use to achieve your goal. Your position in relation to what you want determines the experience.

Concerning career change, this position corresponds with looking for a change in careers because it is what you genuinely want. You are not forced by the circumstances of your old career. You choose something new – because you want it.

From the outside in: the circumstances determine the experience

However, if you start from the outside in, the circumstances outside you are the determining factor. You face circumstances where much is not under your control. Those circumstances outside your control determine much of your experience. Your focus will be on reacting to what happens and avoiding negative emotions, rather than on acting on what you want.

When what happens outside drives us to resistance and reaction, we experience the outside world as determining what we do.

This is the case, for instance, when the most important reason for you to want a change of career is because you don’t like what is happening to you in your old one. It might be the disappointing nature of the work, your difficult boss, or your uncooperative colleagues – these are all outside factors. When these outside factors are your prime movers, you are headed for a rocky ride in your quest for a successful career change.

Living from the outside in makes you lose your balance

When outside circumstances determine what you do or don’t do, or how you feel (negative emotions), you will lose your balance and feeling of being in control fairly frequently. There are just too many things you cannot control, but that you feel you have to control. That kind of claim on things we can’t control disturbs us, and our balance with it.

Living from the inside out makes you keep your balance

Balance is not a stable thing. Balance is best understood as a permanent process of dynamic positioning. Keeping your balance means you can move with what happens. You don’t react – you act based on what is necessary to reach your goal.

Inside out living aims to achieve this kind of balance by giving you your own answer to the losses, reverses and doubts of life and work. It does not seek to control outside events that cannot be controlled or commanded.

The only thing you can realistically demand to command is what is of you. This can only be inside and is e.g. represented in your purpose, your values, or what you really would like to add to the world or those you love. Inside out living is guided by a very simple thing:

The glow that means you’re happy

As we mentioned in the first post on this subject, Al Pacino advices: Go with the glow[1]. Right, but what is it that gives you this ‘glow’?

Whatever composes your ‘happy hour’. It is the rationale of your professional life and the purpose of your personal life. What makes you tick, what makes you get up in the morning, and what do you long for? It is what you would like to share, or have others share with you. That gives you the glow that means you’re happy.

As you will have noticed… these are all factors that begin on the INSIDE, before they manifest themselves on the OUTSIDE.

Changing careers going with the glow

When you start the process of changing careers going with the glow, your expectations will be realistic.

Realistic? Yes, realistic, because you will not simply react to adverse outer circumstances. You will act based on what you really want to achieve in your career.

As James Thurber said:

“There are two kinds of light – the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.”

Find the glow that makes you happy, and the glare of outer circumstances will not blind your sight to the opportunity for a career change that brings you a ‘happy hour’.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

P.S. Don’t forget to read the first post in this series: After Career Change: the Happy Hour.

[1] What drives Al Pacino, The New Yorker 15 September 2014 profile by John Lahr. A very good read!

We’re happy to assist you in your search for what constitutes the ‘glow’ for you in your career and life. We offer you a short introductory call (or mail exchange if you prefer) to explore the possibilities. 

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This blog is part of a series of articles about Decision-making and choice. Decision-making is one of the soft skills we offer coaching in.

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After career change, the happy hour

career-change-happy-hourCareer change – usually our coaching clients start to think about it when they are unsatisfied or unhappy where they are. They think it will be different elsewhere.

And of course, it will be. But will it be a better ‘different’, or just a different environment with just the same old unhappiness and dissatisfaction lurking around the corner?

Whether a career change will lead to you experiencing ‘happy hour’ or not depends on how you go about it. What do you need to make a successful career change?

Who is changing careers?

You need more than changing scenery for the things that make you unhappy or dissatisfied to become different. Besides taking the necessary actions, it requires an adjustment of your self-perception too.

Why is this so? That’s really an open door, although most people looking for career change seem to be standing with their back to it. You take yourself with you. That means that besides all the factors outside yourself that make you want a career change, you have to take the inside factors into account as well.

What makes a career change successful?

Those of our coaching clients who report disappointment or even outright failure and regret after a career change, also report to have neglected or overlooked to look at the inside factors. The outside factors were the driving factors of their decision to try for a career change.

What you can learn from how those who do achieve a successful career change is how they perceive their own capabilities to influence a situation. They look inside themselves and find the cause for wanting a positive change, instead of looking outside and reacting to negative experiences.

This means that the cause for wanting a change of career is not foisted on them. They are themselves the cause of the career change they want.

The focus of their perception is from the inside out. This enables them to look for facts and measure their importance or usefulness against what they have decided they want out of their life and careers. This enables them to find the right factors to establish decisions on.

What you should consider for a successful career change

There are many relevant rational factors you should consider for a successful career change. These are things like position, development possibilities, career prospects, income, culture, the impact you can make, and many more.

Yet, at some time during the process, preferably at the beginning, approach the question from the perspective of your own happiness. What makes you happy (besides making someone else happy of course) in your career and life? What is the key element that cannot be missed?

Happy hour all the time

The other day we drove our ancient dependable car to the car wash. While looking for our client card we noticed a sign about a discount during Happy Hour. The girl in a hugely yellow fluorescent coverall came to us. We asked her about the happy hour. She said, beamingly, pointing at our client card: ‘For you it is always happy hour’.

What does it take for you to enjoy ‘happy hour’ all the time in your career?

This is a critical question that offers a different perspective on career change. All the rational factors can be ticked off. All of them could be right – but what you really need to evolve as a person are those personal requirements that would make it ‘happy hour’ all the time if they were present.

What makes it ‘happy hour’ for you?

The requirements that would make it ‘happy hour’ for you consist of three abstract and interconnected elements. These are your purpose, the aim of your actions and the goal you want to accomplish. In more concrete terms, this is what you need to ask yourself:

  • Why do I do what I do and what makes me happy about it?
  • What direction do my actions take and what do they cause?
  • What is the goal I want to achieve in my career and life?

If these three are aligned in everything you do you’ll experience what makes you happy. Potentially it really is always happy hour for you.

We know: it seems more easily said, than done. But the key word here is ‘seems’. What you need to do, as Al Pacino says, is: ‘Go with the glow’.

The capability of taking the inside factors into account as equal partners with what is going on outside is an acquired skill. It’s a skill you develop by actually doing it, by going with the glow, by learning from the result, by accepting advice, finding mentoring, and mastering what works for you.

That’s the way you’ll experience more and more happy hours. Maybe even without changing careers.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

career-change-happy-hourThe Good Career & Life, coaching for professionals: We’d be happy to assist you in your inside out search for what would make you happy in your career and life. We offer you a short introductory call (or mail exchange if you prefer) to explore the possibilities.

This blog is part of a series of articles about Decision-making and choice. Decision-making is one of the soft skills we coach in.

Make the best decisions possible

decisionsRule for decision

What if you had the wisdom of hindsight available before you made your decisions? Then you would be able to make decisions that you would not regret in the future. What would you need for this?

You need a personal Rule for decision.

Why a having a personal rule for decision matters

A personal rule for decision offers the certainty that what is essential to you is always a guiding factor in assessing the situation. It guarantees that you will make the best available decision.

Making the best available decisions is a critical success factor in accomplishing goals that will still matter to you with the wisdom of hindsight.

  • Decisions are made continuously and have consequences.
  • Track results back in time and you find the decisions that produced them.
  • With the wisdom of hindsight, most decisions could have been better.
  • A personal rule for decision gives you the wisdom in advance about what you have to decide.

Guaranteed to make the best available decision

A personal rule for decision enables you to examine the situation itself for what is essential to you. What you find with a rule for decision in mind displays the options that are available strictly within the situation. They are divested of positive or negative illusions. These options are in line with what you, in your rule for decision, have determined as essential. They are classified according the priorities set by you in your rule for decision. This guarantees you will make the best available decision. It will be a decision that will still be the right one with hindsight. Only now you have used ‘hindsight’ beforehand.

What do you need for a personal rule for decision?

The rule for decision describes essential features. These features are the properties, the attributes, or e.g. the qualities that are essential to your being and you doing something. They belong to what is inherently and fundamentally important to you.

  • If these essential features lack in the situation, you cannot function without an added means.
  • If they are present, what to do is clear and immediately accessible and actionable.

The essential features relate to who you are. For most people this personal knowledge starts with an inner sense. You know more or less about yourself what is fundamental to who you are.

For most people also, this knowledge hasn’t crystallized into distinct descriptions that are personally meaningful. Without this clear description, clear imperatives for what you do cannot develop. Your interactions with the world will not be determined by what is inherently important and indispensable to you.

Who are you?

Know thyself empowers you to give meaning from within to what happens.[1] This offers a guideline and a yardstick.

  • A guideline to know what you want and meet reality on your own conditions.
  • A yardstick to determine if the conditions of reality meet what you want.

Once what is essential to you becomes conscious, it will guide your focus. In meeting the world, taking action, and evaluating results, you will notice more that is related to these essentials. This enables to assess situations, feedback and e.g. cause and effect relations according to the question: how are they meaningful to me?

The advantages of a rule for decision

It turns out that such a focus offers several possible advantages.

  1. You won’t start nonessential things.
  2. You won’t continue with efforts any longer than is necessary.
  3. Self-direction on what is essential will increase.
  4. Confidence in setting and accomplishing a goal grows.

These advantages are available to use once you know what the essentials are that you need to incorporate in your decision. You know this once you know your personal rule for decision.

Describing your personal rule for decision and acting with that rule in mind is an inside-out process. You figure out what is essential to you, and this you bring as a focus to the world outside. Whatever the world outside brings to you, you bring from the outside inward through the filter of your personal rule for decision.

Without the filter of your personal rule for decision the outside world would decide the meaning of what happens. You would react. All the more, because the world does not usually take into account what you want specifically. Now you, by means of your rule of decision, decide what the meaning is. And you can act on your own terms.

Scenarios for using your rule for decision

In dealing with the world there are now two scenarios with unmistakable diverse outlines to pursue.

Scenario 1: Essential features are present.

  • What to do expresses itself as something you want. It is immediately accessible and actionable.

Scenario 2: Essential features lack or are not sufficiently present.

  • What to do expresses itself as something you don’t really want like adaptation, compromise or e.g. loss of a quality or attribute you really value.

Scenarios are descriptions of what could happen. They belong to preparing for a decision. With a personal rule for decision you are prepared for all possibilities. If the worst hits, you still get to decide based on what is essential to you. Perhaps the action to take is terrible, like it sometimes is for triage doctors. But at least you acted based on your own values. In hindsight, that is wisdom. Now you can use your personal rule for decision to use that wisdom beforehand.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

Decision-making in the best possible manner is one of the soft skills we offer coaching in.

Do you want to know how to make the best decisions using your personal Rule for Decision? Give us a call and schedule a coaching conversation with us.

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[1] ‘Know thyself’ is a principle of practical wisdom said to have been inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi in classical Greece. It has been used throughout the ages with various meanings. We use it here in this form: know what is essential to you.

Decision making made easier

Decision making © Can Stock Photo Inc. / BrebcaWhen decision-making is tough, it pays off to approach it from a different side.

We all encounter decision making on a daily basis. Sometimes decisions are tough to make, especially when they will have a big impact on our lives and work.

A different focus on your decisions leads to a new arrangement of the aspects that make up the situation. Often this new perspective will present you with fresh, unthought-of, and even unexpectedly positive possibilities.

Here we (briefly) introduce one such an alternative approach. It enables you to look at your decision-making from an unexpected angle. The unexpectedness creates the possibility to step away from your usual way of thinking. Without talking to someone else yet, you will gain insight in what an objective outsider would share with you regarding your options. This will make you better prepared to make the right decision.

Decision-making: what to cut off?

The original meaning of ‘to decide’ is: to cut off. The question this alternative approach explores is: what to cut off?

There are two possibilities to separate that which you want to keep from that which you want to cut off. You can focus on:

  • What you don’t want
  • What you do  want

Contrary to what you might expect, to decide what you DON’T want is the focus when the situation allows you to select and weigh all the options. When you cut off what you don’t want, you have left what you do want. From the remaining options you choose the one that is most in accordance with what is essential to you.

Again counter-intuitively, to decide what you DO want is the focus when the circumstances coerce you to select only from options you would not have freely chosen. From these (negative) options you are presented with, you choose the one that is the best available option. This is the option that is most in accordance with your values (what you do want).

Let’s see how this works.

What to do when you have time to weigh all the options

  • In this situation there is no pressure and your choices are free from constraints.

Issues about your life and work are of critical importance. Ideally this importance allows you a good deal of time and liberty to prepare for the decision. If this is the case, you determine in advance what your goal is. You ascertain what values, interests, and commitments must be present to make a positive choice. All you have to do now is to cut off what you don’t want. If what is then left resembles what has to be present, you have reached a position where you can make a decision that is right for you.

What to do when your hand is forced

  • In this situation there is unavoidable pressure and constraints determine your choices.

Although some things are of critical importance, this doesn’t imply life won’t force your hand. Sometimes you have to choose the best option from a bad lot. Compare this to the position of a doctor in a war. There are limited resources. In the triage process, the doctor has to decide which of the wounded to assist, and which will have to remain untreated. (Writer, soldier and doctor Jon Kerstetter[1] wrote a beautiful if unsettling essay about this situation.)

You don’t want any of this, so what you are left with is to find what you do want in these adverse circumstances. With what remains of what you do want, you continue and work your way through the unfavorable situation.

Why this approach to decision-making works

In using these unusual perspectives, you will have gained some objectivity. By doing something that is slightly different, you remove yourself from your usual biases. This allows for more options to become visible to you.

Always base your decisions on what is essential to you

Making decisions about career and life matters is always hard work. Ideally you have time and many options open to you. Yet, whatever the conditions are, only when what is essential to you is present in the choice, your decisions will be right for you.

That is why both in favorable and unfavorable situations, it pays to know your basics. Know what is essential to you. This will ease your decision making in all situations.

When you have ample time to make decisions, it makes it easier to cut off the non-essentials, what you don’t want. You will distinguish clearly in what remains what is of real value to you.

When circumstances are unfavorable and your choices minimal, it becomes even more critical to know what is essential to you. You choose what you want from options you would not have chosen in the first place. You have to be sure what is essential to you to be able remain loyal to your values in these circumstances.

Making tough decisions is never easy. Looking at your decision from a different angle at least makes it easier to decide what to cut off and what to keep. This will make it easier to make a decision that will be right for you.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

Decision-making in the best possible way is one of the soft skills we coach managers and professionals in.

When you want to explore how our approach to decision-making can help you in make tough life and career decisions, a coaching session might be a good idea.

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[1] Jon Kerstetter, ‘writer, doctor, soldier’, as he describes himself, wrote an essay about his experiences as a triage doctor in Iraq. Whatever your political views, read the essay for its humanity and what it means to make difficult decisions. See: ‘Triage’, first published in River Teeth, vol.13, # 2, Jan. 2012; reprinted in Best American Essays 2013; available scanned at

Making the right (career) choices from now on – 2

Make the right choiceEver wondered about the (career) choices you’ve made – whether they were the right choices after all? We’d like to give you some pointers what would prevent you from making a right choice, and what you absolutely need to have done before you choose.

What can prevent a right choice?

Choice is the outcome of a cognitive process. Although this process involves interaction with the real world, essentially choosing is making up your mind.

This thinking process is restricted to the mind in its effects. However, we don’t always make the distinction between what we merely do cognitively, and what might happen as a consequence out there, in the ‘real’ world.

The lack of proper discrimination between what is only imagined, and what is real can restrain the room for making the right choices. It does so when our imagination of possible consequences causes us to see mostly constraints we have to deal with, or problems that might occur.

Most choices that were not right in hindsight involved a choice made to avoid negative consequences. These negative consequences were not in fact present – they were just imagined and given undue attention.

To make the right choice, all possibilities should be first explored. Before you actually choose, you are just looking at possible options. Nothing has been decided. There are no consequences as yet.

The outcome of this free exploration of all possibilities is a selection of options. From this selection you will make your definitive choice. Now, how do you select the right option from all possible options?

Weigh your options!

Right choices are well-balanced choices. Choosing the right options from all available options is done by weighing them. Compare this process to balancing a seesaw. A right choice is a choice made in the way of balancing a seesaw.

The option you have selected is on one side of the seesaw. On the other side you put what has the weight of real importance to you in relation to this particular option. The measuring of one to the other is the balancing process. It ensures you have taken into account what every option means to you in terms of what is important to you.

Before you choose:
Know what is important to you

Putting what has the weight of real importance to you on one side of the seesaw presupposes that you know what this is.

  • What are these weight units are made up of for you?

Determining what is of real importance to you is a necessary preparation for making a right (career) choice.
Prepared like this, choice is based on what is right for you and enables you to take right action. The word right is repeated here to show you that what is right in one part has to be right in all parts. Right choice leads to right action.

What has real weight for you has to be weighed when you make the choice. Ignoring the weight doesn’t decrease it. You have to deal with the weight of what is important to you by acknowledging it. Only then will your choice be the right choice.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

(This is the second article in a two-part series about Making the right (career) choices from now on. The first article offered a method to point you in the right direction. Read it here: Making the right (career) choices from now on – 1.)

The Good Career & Life coaching for professionals: Making choices is part of decision-making. Decision-making in the best possible manner is one of the soft skills we offer coaching in.

Choosing and weighing the right options for you can be achieved in one coaching session with us. Don’t hesitate to inquire what this could mean for you.

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Making the right career choice from now on – 1

Make the right choice: right is not leftHow to make a right career choice

Are you reflecting on the (career) choices you made? The reason for doing so might be that you feel dissatisfied with your current career, or that you feel more should be possible for you in life.

A question that might be going through your mind is:

– ‘How to ensure that my next career choice will be the right one?’

This is a series of two blogs about making the right choice. The first one gives you a method to know in what direction the right choice will be found. The second one offers you a method to make the right choice for you.

What is right?

Suppose you walk somewhere, not knowing what the right direction would be. You ask the first person you come across to point you in the right direction. This is the answer you get: ‘Right? That’s easy: right is not left.

Is this just a facetious remark, or is it a clever observation pointing to a method? Perhaps surprisingly, it is the last – it points to a method. This method makes use of Negative Certainty: availing yourself of your certainty about where you don’t want to go to find the direction where you do want to go.

Choose the right direction

Since most people are by nature inclined to avoid risk, our tendency is to look for positive certainties. Yet, these are not always sufficiently available or, when they didn’t work out well in the past, not al that applicable.

When there are not enough positive certainties, doubt about what would be the right choice appears. Doubt is a perfect signal that you are in need of something you can be certain about.

This is where the method of using Negative Certainty comes in. It allows you to be certain about what you don’t want. This leaves you with the path to the right choice.

This is how it works:
Picture choice as an area around you; a circle with you at its center. Somewhere in this 360° is the right direction to take. Standing there, you either are certain where to go, or you are in doubt.

When you are in doubt about the right direction, it pays to square off that part of the circle you are certain not to go. This leaves you with a direction where the right direction must be found. This is a positive effect of your negative certainty.

Choice: Where to go, where not to go

To get a sense of the utility of this approach, let’s give you a concrete example.

When walking in the outdoors, negative certainty provides signs to navigate your way. You don’t need to be a nature guide to recognize specifics in the terrain. Suppose you walk through the woods until you reach a large area of grassland. It looks really wet, even swampy. Along the edge of the wood it seems possible to reach the other side of this swampy area. However, this is a much longer route.

Here is an example of how a Negative Certainty can help you with your choice. You decide what you don’t want. You don’t want to enter a swamp or a terrain that could be a swamp. This leaves the path along the edge of the wood as the area of positive choice.

High risk: more certainty 

Subject to the risk involved and the importance of the result, the area of negative certainty has to be amplified. When the risk is high, you need to be positively certain about more things. This means the area where you are certain you don’t want to, or can’t go, widens.

This implies that when risk is high, your area of negative certainty grows, and your area of positive choice narrows down.

Let’s apply this principle to our outdoor walk. When the risk is higher because you are perhaps walking with small children, this means you have to be certain of more things about the path along the edge. Taking that route then requires you can ascertain that the path is safe for children, with clear possibilities to hold on to something should that be needed.

When in doubt about what is right, don’t go left.

When in doubt about what is right, don’t go left. Just acknowledge what you don’t want. You would be surprised how much you know for certain about what you don’t want. In what remains of the 360°, what is right will be found.

What happens after you know the direction of your choice?

When you have crossed off your area of Negative Certainty (where you don’t want to go) you are left with an area of choice. In this area the right choice can be found. What that right choice entails and how to weigh your options is the subject of the next article, which you can read here.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de GraafThe Good Career & Life: Making the right (career) choices is part of decision-making. Decision-making in the best possible way is one of the soft skills we offer coaching in.

One coaching session with us will allow you to determine the right direction to take.

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Negative Certainty is a concept introduced by the French philosopher Jean-Luc Marion in his book Certitudes Négatives. We have used the term, not the philosophy, to describe our method. See for an English translation: Negative Certainties.

Should I change careers?

Should I change careers?A question like: “Should I change careers?” merits to be looked at from different perspectives. In this blog we offer you a way to look at your career from a perspective that adds to your options in answering the question.


Seeing that the question is asked, it is safe to presume that your current career isn’t totally satisfactory anymore. Probably you have assessed already what you don’t want. However, you know it would limit your choices to confine an assessment of your career situation by following just what your dissatisfaction shows you.

Know what you want?

You wouldn’t limit your choice by being dependent on what is found in an area restricted by what you don’t want. So you have probably also been thinking about what you DO want.

Clarity about what you don’t want (anymore), and especially clarity about what you do want are both important sources of information in deciding for or against a career change.

A third option: your career as a means to an end

We want to give you a valuable third option. This is to look at your career as a means to achieve your life and career goals. Your career, seen as a means to an end, should serve the function of enabling you to achieve what you set out to accomplish, professionally and personally.

By assigning such a result to a career in general, the one you’re currently in can be assessed in that light. Does your current career enable you to achieve your personal and professional goals?

Knowing what you want to accomplish personally and professionally makes it possible to establish where you are compared to the goal you set – and whether your current career does indeed move you in that direction.

First, you need clarity about what you DON’T want anymore.

Second, you need clarity about what you DO want from a career.

Third, you add information about WHAT A CAREER MEANS TO YOU in the broader perspective of your personal and professional goals – your desired future.

All three together should give you sufficient input to come to a measured decision about changing your career.

Below, you’ll find an outline of how to use the third perspective on your career.

A method to help you answer the question: Should I change careers?

What you need for critical decisions in your life and work, like answering the question: “Should I change careers?” is a method that takes into account your

  • Personal purpose,
  • Professional aspiration, and
  • Personal commitments.

First, describe the function of your career for these three areas. (Put in a different way: What is the role of your career in accomplishing your goals in these areas?)

  • What is your personal purpose? What drives you? What role does your career play in fulfilling this purpose?
  • What is your professional aspiration? What function does your career have in your professional life?
  • What commitments are important to you in life? (Examples: family, partner, children, personal causes, professional causes, charity or educational causes etc.) How do you want to fulfill your commitments? How does your career support these commitments?

Second, look at your current career from the perspective of your personal and professional goals, as described above. Just see and establish what is there and what is not there.

  • Does your current career align with your personal purpose and drive? If not, what do you miss and how could you add it?
  • Does your current career serve your professional aspirations? If not, how can you mend this? Does it mean you have to change careers or can you find another role in your current career or organization?
  • What are your commitments at this moment? Are they what you want and does your current career help you to fulfill them? If not, what options do you see to change this?

Should I change careers?

By making your career a function in achieving your personal and professional goals, you add a new and broader perspective to the ‘traditional’ don’t want/do want analysis.

With this added ‘wisdom of hindsight’ present in the now it is at least easier to know why you should do something. Knowing why also makes it easier to find out how.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

The Good Career & Life: Answering a question like ‘Should I change careers?’ involves decision-making skills. Decision-making in the best possible way is one of the soft skills we offer coaching in.

After following the steps outlined above, we can help you further clarify the role of your career in achieving your personal and professional goals and answer the question ‘Should I change careers’?

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Does the salary make up for the dissatisfaction in your work?

If dissatisfactisalary vs dissatisfactionon would be like a hole in the ground, would the ‘sand’ of your salary fill it up? For that matter, are you sure you will be out of the hole once you have put your salary in it? So, let’s try to see how to answer this question. Does the salary make up for the dissatisfaction in your work?

Your question presumes that salary and satisfaction are comparable in a meaningful way. See if this is so for you by answering these questions.

  1. Why do you need this particular salary?
  2. What brings on the dissatisfaction?
  3. Are these consequences unavoidable?
  4. Are these consequences unalterable?
  5. Is the dissatisfaction caused by work related factors only, or are personal aspects at play (too)?

The price of dissatisfaction in your work

Let’s assume you really need this salary and nothing can be done about the dissatisfaction. What would be the right pricing for the dissatisfaction? Not for the employer, but the right price you are willing to pay.

  • How much is this particular dissatisfaction worth to you?

The value you put on it depends on the goal you have set yourself, or e.g. on the appraisal of a decrease in payment for an alternative job. Yet, in point of fact you should then also value the benefits you value in the other job to make a true assessment.

Suppose you have commitments for which you need the current salary or you have set a certain financial goal. Then it is easy to calculate the value. Compare both salaries and compute the difference times the months or years spent in the job. Then you know it will take e.g. three years to reach your financial goal, staying in this job, with this salary. You will also know how long it would take in the other job.

This may be an evaluation that puts a figure on it. In its turn, this raises the question:

  • How do you value your own time?

How much is your time worth to you?

Life is precious and time limited. Although these seem clichés, they are true when considered in light of the fact that satisfaction is available. Of course you need money. But how much money makes up for something you would never choose voluntarily, like dissatisfaction?

Before answering, add the fact that to earn money you are obliged to spend something which is valuable and limited, that is: your life-time. Why would you spend your time this way?

Literally: why? Think about your personal reasons for this choice. Put them down on paper, that makes it easier to keep them in mind. Now put a certain value on them. Do this for instance by imagining a hundred marbles you have to allocate, and distribute them according to the importance these reasons have for you.

Next put a figure on the personal cost of dissatisfaction. You do this by juxtaposing another job with satisfaction to the current one with dissatisfaction. What is the cost of dissatisfaction? Again, use your marbles. It will give you a rough idea of how you valuate one against the other.

How about using hindsight now?

Hindsight is always 20/20, as we know. Yet, just for a thought experiment:
how important will the extra salary have been in hindsight?

Don’t fall for the easy answer. Really think about this. If there is anything important to you that justifies needing your current salary, acknowledge it and add it as a requisite to a possible goal of a well-paid job with satisfaction.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

The Good Career and Life: Answering questions like “Does the salary make up for the dissatisfaction in your work” requires good decision-making skills. Decision-making in the best possible way is one of the soft skills we offer coaching in.

We can help you further clarify your options and goals. This makes the answer to the question: “Does the salary make up for the dissatisfaction in your work” clear to you.

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Career clarity – the essential first step

Career clarity means you know what you want from your career, and why this is important to you. Most people who want to find career clarity know what they don’t want, and still have only a vague idea of what they do want.

Yet, clarity about what you want from your life and work is an absolute necessity if you want to have a meaningful, rewarding and successful career.

In order to find career clarity, a good first step is to find out why you don’t experience clarity now.

What is clarity?

“Clarity” means that there is clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding, freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity. That is the dictionary definition. In our definition, having clarity means that you are able to see with an open mind, without preconceptions or prejudgment. Just see what is there, and then decide what it means to you.

Career clarityThe ‘lens’ that obscures clarity

Mostly we are looking at the world and interpret what we see immediately. We base this interpretation on the personal meaning we give to what we observe. Compare it to an extra lens placed in front of a camera. You see what is there, but how you see it will be colored by the ‘lens’. Something gets added to the scene, without the observer necessarily being aware of it. Yet, you, the observer, are in fact influenced by this added layer. Perhaps you are even guided or misguided by it.

This ‘lens’ we put between ourselves and clarity is common, and almost unavoidable. What is important is to know what you use as your particular ‘lens’. What keeps you from knowing what would be a meaningful and rewarding career to you? Or do you know, but have no clarity about how to get there? Either way, you have to find out what you put between yourself and being clear about your life and career.

Once you know what you add, and why you do so, you can decide whether this particular ‘lens’ obscures or clarifies.

Why you don’t have career clarity…

There are a few common ‘lenses’ people put between themselves and having clarity about their life and careers. See if you recognize any of them.

– I don’t know what I want.

– I don’t know enough about what I want, and anyway, I won’t be able to find it.

– It won’t be possible to do what I want in a paying job.

– I know what is important to me, but how can I make a career out of that?

– What about finances and income stability?

– How do I know I would be capable of doing this new thing?

– How can I be sure not to land another unsatisfying job?

– I’m too old/ I don’t have the right skills/ I’m a one-trick dog really ….

…. And how you can have clarity

Just make sure clarity is possible. Don’t look through a colored lens and think it is reality you see. Don’t jump to negative conclusions about your ability, your attitude or your psychology, the possibilities or impossibilities for you. Clarity results from openness of mind about what is there, and the willingness to explore this.

Once you have gained clarity about why you don’t have clarity now, you can start exploring the questions you need to be asking about your life and career goals. Do you know what you want from your career? Can you formulate why this is important?

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

The Good Career & Life: Finding career clarity means you need good decision-making skills. Decision-making in the best possible way is one of the soft skills we offer coaching in.

In coaching we can help you to define what career clarity means for you and come to the right decisions regarding your life and career.

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Make taking stock of your career work for you

Taking stock of your career choices usually comes at a time when you start wondering: am I on the right track at all? You might be thinking about the next step to take in your current career, consider a career change, or starting your own business.

This blog is meant to ensure that your taking stock of your career will actually give you the answers you need about your career choices and chances.

Taking stock of your careerHow to take stock of your career

Taking stock of your career is a good idea. However, before you start, see if you can check off these two questions:

  • From what ‘inventory’ will I take stock?
  • What do I want to detect? What is the result I want from the stocktaking?

Essentially, taking stock is getting information. To the degree you know what you want beforehand, this information will have a useful quality. You have to determine at the outset what you want to discover from your stocktaking, otherwise you’ll just be keeping yourself busy.

Let’s take an inventory of the questions you need to tackle before you start. Answering these will insure that you get information that is useful from taking stock of your career choices.

Taking stock of your career: What inventory?

In pre-computer days, taking stock was a once a year occasion. Its aim was to assess what was there, and to adjust accounting to the reality of the warehouse. Compare this with your plan to take stock of your career.

  • Do you want to take stock of the inventory in the current ‘warehouse’, i.e. your current position?
  • Or do you want to take stock in the ‘warehouse’ of the potential of your life and career?

Choosing the inventory first is important because it determines what you will find. Looking from here to the past (taking stock of your current situation) will give you a different input than looking from the future back at where you are now (taking stock of the potential).

In the first case, looking at your current situation, you will look at a line of development that you possibly want to continue – or maybe not.

When it is the potential that you want to investigate, your point of view will change. The point of reference might become what you really want out of life, but haven’t perhaps named precisely yet. You look at your current reality from a visionary point in the future. This means that what you have done in the past might come to serve an entirely different use. Your current skills might have to be re-thought. Your view of yourself might have to be re-evaluated.

What are you measuring?

Taking stock requires a form of measurement. This could be the measurement of what is present, and/or the measurement of what is absent. But how would you know of what is present is needed, and what is absent is actually in need of supply? Without the right yardstick, taking stock often proves to be a frustrating affair. There is an outcome, but what does it mean? Does the outcome put you up to take action?

Assuming you decided from what inventory you want to take stock, what you want as a result of taking stock of your career is the crucial question that has to be answered next. The result of the inventory should be precisely named before you start. It determines the yardstick you will use to measure your stock.

When you choose, for instance, to take inventory of your current situation, you will want to know what is actually there at this particular time in your life and career. This is a relatively easy exercise. You just enumerate what you have in knowledge, experience, capabilities, talents…

You see where the difficulty emerges? You could write down everything. Taking stock only works when you know what it is you are measuring.

What use does the stocktaking exercise serve? What is it you want to know at the end of taking stock? You need to know before you start. Without setting clear criteria of outcome at the start, your measurement will lead to data, not information.

Get the information you need from taking stock of your career

Taking stock is just information to base your decisions on. Right decisions are always at least based on the right information.

These are the questions you should answer before you start taking stock of your life and career. This way, you get the right information:

  1. What inventory am I making up? Decide what it is you want to investigate – your current situation or a potential situation.
  2. What do I use as measurement – what is the result I want to achieve? Set a clear goal of what it is you want as a result of taking stock.

There is also a crucial third element:

  1. What are the questions I need answers to? Determine the questions you will need to be answered to achieve your goal.

As important as goal setting in the effectiveness of taking stock are the Questions you want to answer while taking stock. They follow from the goal you have set. The questions you ask determine what you will find in your stock. They show you what is there and what is lacking. They determine what actions you will take as a result of taking stock. In short – they’re crucial to the information you will get from taking stock.

It is our experience that preparing yourself in this way before you start on the actual taking stock of your career leads to the information you need to achieve your career goals.

What we can do for you to make sure your taking stock of your career is useful.

We can advice you how to take stock of your career in a way that will lead to clear decisions and actions. We guide you in setting the goal in such a way you are sure it is the goal you want to achieve. We assist you in clarifying what it is you need to investigate as a result of setting that goal.

By Iris Dorreboom and Rudi de Graaf

The Good Career & Life: Coaching  will enable you to take stock of your career choices, and come to the right decision for you about your career.

Decision-making in the best possible way is one of the soft skills we offer coaching in.

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