Should we reframe the career question?

What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you have a career in mind?

It’s always seemed such a big decision to make. Particularly when so young. Committing ourselves to a path – when so many options lay ahead.

When I reflect on my own career, it seems to have been a series of disconnected events and jobs. All providing something to the rich tapestry that has made me who I am.

But, was it really all that disconnected?

When I look back at the roles and organisations I’ve worked in, they have, in the majority, had common elements. (Although I look back on some more favourably than others!).

They’ve allowed me to explore ideas. Create something new. Provided freedom and autonomy. Opportunity… and, most importantly, choice!

Basically, they have allowed me to play to my strengths. Intrinsically motivating me to do more. Go further. Fail harder. And get up, shake myself off, and do it all again.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not been plain sailing. This, if I’m honest, has been down to yours truly – not any one role or organisation. And so, it makes me reflect on something I hear quite a lot when working with people and their Facet5 profile:

‘Wow, I wish I had this 20 years ago!’.

In those moments what most people start to realise is a few key things about themselves;

Firstly – they give themselves permission to be brilliant. At Facet5, we call this the ‘brilliance of being’. Understanding their strengths, (you know, truly understanding them). And using this understanding as a way of taking them to amazing places.

Secondly – they acknowledge they like to work in a particular way. And when they get the opportunity to do so, work becomes more effortless and enjoyable. It also allows them to find a language that helps explain, to others, their preferences and preferred ways of working. Creating clarity and building better relationships.

Thirdly – they know what they are motivated by. In their jobs – past, present and future. While also understanding that this doesn’t restrict them. But rather, gives them a way of understanding what is important.

Lastly – the environment in which they work is critical. Allowing them to grow and flourish. When we get a sense of ‘connection with others’ and align with purpose of the organisation, we call this ‘fit’. We all like to feel like we have our tribe.

So, should we be asking a different question?

Instead of “What do I want to be when I grow up?” should we ask, “What do I want to do?”

At Facet5, we think so. And so we have started on a journey of helping others with their careers.

At a recent Career Coaching Masterclass, we spoke with our Facet5 practitioners and agreed that a career is not just a series of jobs and skills. But that perfect storm of personality, capability and talents that aligns with our passions, purpose and values. And importantly that it is a living process.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll outline the four elements that make up the Facet5 career model. Taking a deep dive into each one. And explaining why, we believe, they lay an important foundation of understanding for any job or career pathway.

Has your career been planned? When did you realise the above?

Grant Gemmell,
Managing Director, Facet5

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