Why is it important to become familiar with how we work?

Many of us will have several careers in our lifetime. This is becoming an accepted reality. To navigate career change(s) and transition(s), to better leverage our different experiences and expanding expertise, it is increasingly important to become more aware of “how” we work and more skilled at articulating that “how”.

The “how” is a vital ingredient we need to add to what we have to offer – the “how” is just as important as learned skills, innate skills, education, and training.

The shifts taking place in the job market

The shifts taking place in the job market will continue to impact the relationship we have with work and career, the meaning work and career holds for us, and our preparation for work, whether in terms of education, training, or the acquisition of skills.

The increasing demand for “flexible,” “portable” and generalized skills, for example, is one of these shifts taking place in the job market. Which skills will be in demand for this new reality? What types of skills are “flexible” or “portable”? The answers to these questions will also continue to shift.

So how can we navigate this reality AND create career(s) for ourselves? One approach is to shift our mindset around skills: we must add “how” we work to our skill set. Becoming more aware of “how” we work empowers us to design and better manage our careers and career transitions over our lifetime as opposed to simply navigating changes in the job market.

Becoming more aware of “how” we work is an area that many of my clients, regardless of age or work experiences, have difficulty fleshing out and articulating.

We can often name the skills that we are required to learn, or have learned, to execute a specific job or task. And as we gain more and more work experience, we can often identify more personal or innate skills and talents. Most of us, however, have a much more difficult time describing the ways in which our experiences, our development, our natural capacities, and our learned skills interact with, shape, and influence “how” we work.

Reflective practice to access the “how”

The practice of reflecting on our different work experiences provides valuable information. Reflective practice reveals the multiple ways – the “how” – we personalize the work we do. We do not simply apply learned skills and/or training to the work we do, we also bring natural or innate skills, we bring energy and motivation, we bring a personal attitude and approach. Work holds different and very personal meanings for us. Work is often a place of self-expression, identity, a means to an end. Work is a place of contribution and of learning. Within all of this we are continuously developing and personalizing “how” we work, creating a valuable and “portable” narrative.

For reflection:

  • How do I approach my work (attitudes, expectations, motivation)? Can I identify the unique approach, perspective, attitude I bring to my work? Can I name aspects of my work that really interest, motivate, and energize me?
  • What unique skills, talents, and experiences do I bring to my work in addition to my learned skills and/or specific training that I have acquired?
  • How do I put my personal stamp on my work roles? How do I bring my work/my role/my position “to life” – what natural talents and capacities do I recognize within myself that influence the way I do my job, the way I interact with my colleagues? How do I contribute to my work?
  • Which of my natural skills are most predominant in the work I do? Have these changed with the different roles and types of work I have had? Do I recognize certain skills and capacities that are consistent in the different work roles I have had?
  • What have I learned from the jobs/roles I have had? What perspectives, opinions, knowledge do I hold about a particular industry, business, profession?
  • What have I discovered about myself in these different experiences? What new skills or capacities have I discovered within myself?
  • How have my capacities developed, changed, or expanded?
  • What skills, talents and interests would I like to develop further?

These are the reflective conversations, the support, and the personal strategies found at Canvas Career Counselling. Contact hello@mycareercanvas.co for more information.