Thursday, March 06, 2014

Career Clarity, Do You Have It?

Meet John

My first call of the day came from someone I’ve known for several years from a hockey playing perspective but we've never before shared a conversation from a business perspective.

I’ll call this person John.  John was calling because after 22 years in the same company, he has reached a point where he feels the need to move on.  John is in his early 50s so he isn't retiring for good.  He’s just reached a point where his current career and current company has worn him out.

Worn Out

I’m not assuming that John is worn out; he told me he is worn out.  In fact, he told me what my wife suggested I should stop staying.  John told me that he doesn’t know what he wants to do when he grows up.  I’ve said that before and my wife has previously suggested that some people might be offended by the statement. I've made this statement because I run into people all the time who have not invested time and energy to discover how they're built in order to determine the kind of work they should be doing.

John went on to tell me that he’s just gotten worn out with the routine and politics in his current company.  I explored what the routine and politics looked like for a few minutes.  I asked John if he was engaged in his work.  Once we settled on what it means to be truly engaged in one’s work, John told me that he used to be engaged in his work but in recent years, the reasons he was once engaged have diminished.

Strengths Psychology

From here, I brought the idea of strengths psychology into the discussion. I didn't come up with this term.  It is Donald O. Clifton PH.D. who is known as the Father of Strengths Psychology.  Dr. Clifton’s research suggests that people who align their strengths with their chosen work are up to 6 times as engaged in their work.

I didn't perform Dr. Clifton's research.  However, I've studied his research and it makes a lot of sense to me.  It makes sense to my career coaching clients as well.  That's what is most important.


I asked John if he knew what his specific strengths were.  John had a general idea of what he was good at but he admitted that he has never slowed down long enough to actually discover his strengths and then to align them with his work.

As our conversation progressed, John was clearly becoming intrigued with the idea of discovering his strengths and then setting out to find a job where he could apply his strengths more frequently than he has been in recent years.

John by the way is not an information security professional.  In fact, he isn't even a technology professional.  He works around technology in the telecommunications industry.  He just happens to be someone I know personally.  He’s in the situation that I think most people experience at one time or another over their career.  John is professionally burned out.

John has been settling for a job that he “can” do versus aligning his strengths with work he “should” do. 

This conversation between me and John just started and it isn't finished.

Is 2014 the year that you’ll learn what it means to align your hard-wired strengths with the work you invest in every day? 

If it is, my coaching team can help you.'s Security Recruiter Blog