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New Year, New Career: The 80,000 Hour Question

New Year, New Career: The 80,000 Hour Question

New Year, New Career is that even possible in these current times?

The average person works around 80,000 hours in their lifetime.

That’s a lot of time to spend doing something you’re not enjoying. Especially after you’ve realised that you’re not enjoying it.

Sometimes this realisation can take a while.

It could be after you’ve already invested years in studying a particular subject.

Perhaps you were encouraged from an early age, by well-meaning family members to choose a “secure” career rather than a satisfying career.

Maybe you felt under pressure to give a definitive answer to the age-old question,

“So, what do actually you want to do when you grow up?”

Now, years into your chosen path, you might have had a few career promotions.

Alongside this journey, perhaps you’ve taken on family commitments.

You’re now facing a scenario that you can’t just walk away from and make a fresh start somewhere else.

Even if you’d like to go into a completely different career direction, and you’re well aware there’s no such thing as a job for life.

Of course, you’re not alone if you feel this way. 

You don’t have to go very far to find surveys such as this one from Investors in People (pdf) finding almost half of British people are looking for a new job.

Another survey from Totaljobs puts the figure higher, at 89%.

With figures like these, maybe it’s time to look backwards.

Instead of analysing what people feel about their job or career now, we should take a look at how people end up or fall into their careers.

After all, it’s common to hear from someone how they ‘fell into’ an industry or position.

Yes, sometimes that can lead to serendipity and people discovering their calling.

However, falling into a career is by its very nature a random approach, without any real or clear structure.

Therefore it’s this lack of clarity which perhaps goes some way to explaining why so many people seem to be considering a change.

Being the change

However, in the current pandemic there is more opportunity to find that clarity.

Many of us have more time to think than in the days when we were rushing around on public transport.

Less time waiting for a bus or tune means more time to focus on discovering who you really are.

What experience you’re really looking for.

And what you really want your days to be like.

As Michelle Obama said,

“If there’s some part of you that’s questioning your career, it’s important to listen to that. Our hearts sometimes know ourselves better than our minds do.”

Of course, thinking at a deeper level means that things are likely to seem magnified, including the risks of changing career.

Whether that’s around reduced income, possible upheaval to family routine, or purely the fear of making a life-changing decision.

At that stage, it’s worth asking if there ever is a ‘perfect’ time to make a decision.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing – it can simply be a case of asking yourself,

“Ok, what can I do now to make a change in my career?”

After all, even if you do nothing you’re still making a decision – to do nothing.

At this stage of the blog, we should probably define what’s meant by a career.

Here’s the Career Matters definition:

“A career is a series of choices where we explore how to align our gifts with how we spend our time and how we make our money”.

Hopefully this definition brings you clarity, which also brings us onto the next stage…

The Career Equation®

My Career Path

To bring clarity to your career choices, you first need a clear framework.

We’re talking about a framework where you break things down (in a nice way) step-by-step.

That’s what you get with The Career Equation®.

It’s split into four elements, which are designed to help you gain confidence in your decisions:

  1. Skills
    Start by analysing the skills you have, the skills you want to improve on, and the skills you may want to learn. The more likely you use your chosen skills in your job, the more likely it is that you’ll find where you can excel.
  2. Passion
    Think about the things you do that make you lose track of time, because you’re enjoying them so much. Then think about your skills, talents, natural ability – where can you use these during those times?
  3. Impact
    Think about what really matters to you in your work. Is it achieving KPIs, being recognised by your peers, receiving personalised messages of thanks? Think about what you value, and how you measure your success.
  4. Environmental fit
    This element is so crucial, because the previous three are either enhanced or compromised by the environment you’re in. Where do you see yourself doing your best work and thriving – in an office, in a large organisation, or in an agile and autonomous role?

When you have these four elements in place, you start to gain a picture of what career success looks like.

It’s also about giving you a way to spot danger areas, where things that could go wrong with your career.

With this foundation, you can then feel more confident in the career decisions you make.

You might feel like you’re a long way into your 80,000 hours of working life. So compare it to the 10,000-hour rule.

That’s how long, according to Malcolm Gladwell’s famous Outliers book, you need to become an expert in something.

So the good news is that, even if you’re seven-eighths or 70,000 hours into your career, you still have time to become an expert in something else.

Want us to help you get to that stage even quicker? Click here to Book a Call and discuss your options with our team of career experts.

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