Yesterday lunchtime, as a pilot for the area of work that I’m planning to develop, I spent two hours helping a friend to move forward in her career. This involved a detailed look at what she’d done over the years, when she’d done it and for how long. Very much like an extensive and very detailed CV, it included, not just the jobs, but the roles and responsibilities that were involved, likes and dislikes, etc. Like much else in life, the devil is in the detail. In this case, the task involves teasing out those details that most of us take for granted and, as a result, don’t really think about. It also includes those things that we do in our personal lives without realising the skills can be useful in our working lives as well.
In doing this, I use practical examples from my own experience. For example, when, as an unemployed single parent on a job creation scheme, I started work in the voluntary sector, I had to fundraise; something I had no experience of. Central to this was financial planning and budgeting, both these tasks that I wasn’t good at in my personal life. However, with two young children to look after, I realised that I did have experience of drawing up a budget. After all, that was what I did every week before I went to the supermarket. So, my first fundraising budget was based on a simple shopping list. I just hadn’t realised that this was a skill.
This “skills audit” can help to paint a complete picture of someone’s skills and experience and became one of the tools of the trade when I was teaching voluntary committee members how to manage their charities. It also works well for individuals considering changing careers. Now on my 6th career, I like to think that it’s something else that I’ve had experience of. Along with being sacked!
Having done this, we moved on to the more difficult area where, in this case, we looked at how this might aid career development. This can, by its nature, be challenging as the person is helped to put aside long held conceptions and look at what is usually subjective, in a very objective way. This leads on to a series of conclusions and tasks ready for the next session.
So, if you’re considering something similar, please have a look at my recent interview with Mike Blissett in which we discuss the life of “The Accidental Role Model” and how to plan for and execute a career change. https://youtu.be/KbdzuDFm6_w
It seems that my friend was pleased as, today, I received a text which read “Mike, many thanks for your time yesterday, it was just what I needed. A detailed looked at my career and pointers to the future. You not only guided me along the journey with ease and enthusiasm, but also challenged my thinking in the nicest possible way. It has helped me to rethink and discover new possibilities. Looking forward to our next session when I make plans for the future”.
I enjoyed it as well as I started, what I hope will be, a new area of work for me too.