Once you hit the workforce, it’s easy to get swept into the role you’re in without giving more thought to the why—other than, you know, paying rent and affording your grocery haul.
But solidifying a job or career that aligns with your personal values and goals should be something you think about before writing another “I’m so excited to announce…” post on social media.
The first thing to nail down? Minda Harts, founder of The Memo (who recently appeared at our Wellness Collective event with Athleta), recommends figuring out what a “successful” career actually means to you. Is it making sure you’re home by five, or is it ensuring each job you take ladders up to one overall goal? Your why can take a lot of different shapes, Harts says.
For her, it’s empowering women of color and providing career guidance in the workplace—and everything she does leads back to this mission. Once you have your definition nailed down, she suggests focusing on your specific personality traits then deciding what office setting you most thrive in. Do you prefer to work autonomously or do you shine better on a team? Would you rather work at home or come into the office every day? Remember, there are no wrong answers.
Now, lay out what you truly love to do and the skills you already have (as well as the ones you need to work on). It’s not just a wild dream to get paid for doing something you genuinely enjoy, so map it out and then apply to open positions that align. If you have some work to do on your skill set, seek out a peer in your industry who can mentor you or check if your company would allow you to take some classes—you never know until you ask.
Through these four simple steps, you’ll “uncover what is needed in your career toolkit and identify your strengths and areas for enhancement,” says Harts, so you’ll know exactly how to assess—and what to say—to any new job offers that come your way.
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