When consultants speak with people for the first time,
one-third will say that they are not exactly sure of what
they want to do. Or, using other words, I just want a job.
In today’s realities, less prepared professionals will fall
into this category and move from place to place seeking
more fulfilling careers.
These people have some applicable strengths, noteworthy
accomplishments and have worked with good teacher-leaders
in their fields at prestigious places.
Some will sign up for $1500 - $2000 workshops that
will point out a well thought model and evaluate who you are,
your key “drivers” [motivators] and priorities in your life. They
argue persuasively that this will give you the best chance to fit
jobs with your interests, passions, values and skills.
Very likely this will help.
A third path we have mentioned before that each of us is equipped with
beliefs and values that guide us in making decisions [vonWinterfeldt
All these are well and good, but it is not clear that there is a
working plan for helping everyone. So, I did some
exploring and some thinking about career self assessments.
What is something that is a quest or mission in your life?
What are the kinds of questions that keep you up at night thinking,
or that you dream about solving?
Another way of thinking is where would you be thrilled to be at
in your professional life in 10 or 15 years? Instead of keeping
it unscripted, write it down and perform an assessment of what it
would take you to achieve this. Then, compare the place and
situation where you are currently at to your goal in a “gap analysis.”
Another, more practical approach to self assessment has you
defining and managing non-negotiable constraints (in von
Winterfeldt’s model, his beliefs) and negotiable constraints (values).
These constraints seem to align the process of achieving goals.
Having defined your constraints, you can evaluate career situations
or jobs and what they hope to achieve as your goals. Then, you
can go about planning how to achieve your goals within the
framework of your non-negotiable constraints and negotiable
Having a solid picture of knowing the items of priority for you
now (and these elements will change throughout your career), the
negotiable constraints, like having a challenging project, being
autonomous, feeling secure, and being authentic will help you rate
options to pursue. A second grouping address your needs,
including money, sociability, prestige, recognition and respect.
Each one of these can be given rating factors. The list could
also include social consciousness, hours of work, goals outside
of oneself, or the excitement of building, winning (sales or
customers), inventing or collaborating with teams.
Evaluate each new offer or potential career path step and multiply
each score by the rating factor to compare options.
How often do you want to review this? Every half year given the
new circumstances, situations and constraints we face is practical..
My career had family raising responsibilities immediately
following grad school. Only after the family’s future was secure
did this non-negotiable constraint lift and other options become