Consider the 3 V’s…

We all feel stuck at points throughout our careers. We may have entered our career with huge passion, accomplished great things, but now find ourselves no longer fulfilled. We may have been “transitioned” out of a role that we thought we were born for and now feel lost. We may have been passed over for the big promotion that we know should have been ours. Maybe we’re just burned out and want to try something completely different. So, what’s next?

What are your Values?

An important place to start is to ask yourself, ‘what really matters?’ Here are some questions to consider to identify your underlying values:

  • If money were unlimited & I couldn’t fail, I would…
  • At my Eulogy, I want to be remembered as someone who…
  • I am most passionate and fulfilled when…
  • I respect individuals most who…
  • I find it most painful / frustrating / challenging when…
  • If I had one year / month / week to live, I would…

As part of this, consider your strengths, skills & experience and identify ways you can leverage these along with your passions. They say that the biggest magic comes from the intersection between what you love (values & passion), your strengths and what the world needs.

What is your Vision?

Based on the values you’ve identified, a great next step is to ask yourself, ‘what does success look like’? There is no ‘right answer’ to this, as it’s different for all of us. Consider the following metaphorical exercise:

Imagine that a rocket ship has landed in front of you. You get into the rocket ship, lift off and land on a planet. The planet is a ‘blank canvas’ and can be made to be anything you want it to be. What would this planet look like? What would you be doing on this planet? What role or activities would you pursue? With whom would be doing them? What would you call this planet?

Now, using the above in relation to your career, ask yourself, “How do I envision my future in 3 years? 18 months? 12 months?”

How do you prioritize your Variables?

To achieve your vision while living your values, consider the variables that you’ll need to factor in along the way. Most importantly, prioritize the importance of each of these when considering your ideal career.

  • Geography (including commute) – how important is geographic location? What geographic areas, locations, etc. will you consider? Prepare for the question from the recruiter or hiring manager who asks the question, “How would you feel about relocating to ____?” What countries, regions or cities would you LOVE to work in? What would you absolutely say no to? Also, what level of commute are you willing to consider?
  • Industry / sector – what level of importance do you put on the industry in which you work? What industries interest you and/or do you have experience in? What industries attract you and which ones would you avoid like the plague (ask yourself why to both)? Do you seek the public or private sector? For profit, Non for Profit? What appeals to you about the examples you identified? Name at least 2-3 potential target industries to get yourself started.
  • Company – if you could work for the ideal company, what would it be? What are some examples? Whom might you speak with at some of these companies to learn more about what they are truly like? Through brainstorming, Identify a list of at least 5-10 companies you’d consider part of your target list.
  • Culture – ask yourself what the ideal culture of an organization looks like – collaborative or competitive, entrepreneurial or highly structured, etc. How do current and past employees describe the culture of the organizations you are considering? Consider asking them questions such as ‘what one word would you use to describe the culture here?’, ‘what’s the one thing you love the most about working here?, or ‘name one thing you wish you could change about the culture…?”
  • Role / Function – where does the specific role or function you have fall within your search? If you worked at the ideal company, would you be willing to take on a new / different (including lateral or more junior) role?
  • Work / Life Balance (including travel) – as this means something different to every individual (and to organizations), it helps to be specific about what this really means to you when considering a new career or role. Consider your perspective on working during weekends, the amount of travel you’re willing to put in and how important ‘flexible working arrangement’ policies are (e.g. work from home, telecommuting, etc.)
  • Compensation / Benefits – in relation to the above variables, ask yourself where compensation and benefits ranks for you. Consider various scenarios such as working for an ideal organization in the ideal industry, but with a lower base pay & lighter (or perhaps no) benefits, versus an extremely lucrative role in a less exciting role, company or industry. Consider how you would specifically rank base compensation versus benefits (medical, vacation, etc.) – If you had to prioritize one over the other, what would it be and why?

Life is too short to not enjoy what you do.Using the 3 V framework, take the time to identify how you want to spend it.