Today I’d like to bring to your attention the Career Basket. Without getting into a discussion about financial investments, we all know that an investment basket should contain more than one fund or company to invest. Why? Because thus we can mitigate the risk of loosing money if things go wrong!
Then why so many people focus their Career Basket only on one thing?! It could be their job or business, but they put all their professional attention in just one place. If it doesn’t work the way they want, they get frustrated! Even worse, if things get really wrong they get stressed out and look for a quick fix – that usually doesn’t come so quickly or requires compromises! 🙂
So, what can we do? As in the flower basket from this picture or the investment basket, in the Career Basket we have to have things at different levels all the time: some that we might consider to get rid off (if they don’t satisfy us anymore), some that are going well, and some new and promising options that we start working on. This way we prepare ourselves for the future, to continue to have good projects in our career portfolio anytime. The beauty of this strategy is that the enthusiasm of the new projects gets also infused in the current things and keep them going well. Plus, working on more things (instead of one job or business) prevents annoyance. Those projects that still don’t work well, are just telling us that we should let them go or delegate them to someone else.
Another thing I’ve noticed with this strategy of having a Career Basket: when you don’t focus only on one project (job or business), you don’t put so much pressure on those around you, and you get along with them much better! In business: people won’t feel that you’re that pushy person that just wants to sell his product or service. When you get in contact with someone (that is not a direct business – potential client relationship), if the things go well and the person likes you… he/she will start to trust you, and will be inclined to know more about you and your business. Who knows, you might get referrals or sell your product/service without doing any hard sell! If you have a job, using your strengths outside the job and getting involved with hobbies will give you the energy and enthusiasm that you can bring at work too. And that “hard to take” remark of your boss or colleague won’t heart you so much; you can even infuse some humor at your workplace (because you’re more relax and satisfied by what’s happening outside the company’s walls).
Do you want some examples?
I’m taking an excellent course now (“Improving Pronunciation”); we learn a lot and the teacher is great! She’s an actor, puppeteer, ESL teacher, yoga teacher, and does astrology readings. She used a lot of knowledge and skills from her background in designing this course. Were else do you get to sing a Broadway song in a men or women choir, to better learn how to make the difference in pronunciation of two verbs?! 🙂 Because she’s such a great teacher, she gained our trust! I’ve already referred her one of my friends that wants an astrology reading. Another colleague wants to go to her yoga class. See what I mean?! She didn’t push us to do this, she was just herself and gained our trust, which we transferred on other things that she does. And… she has a Career Basket!
My RBNS membership and the president role helped me in the same way. It was not part of my business, but my involvement in RBNS (specially this year) helped people to know me better, trust me more, and I’ve got more clients and referrals. Plus, a few days ago I was asked to be part of an advisory committee of a network of immigrant networks. I couldn’t get this invitation a year ago, since it was based on my knowledge and background up to now. One step creates the conditions for the next one! And sometimes you don’t even have to ask, just work on your Career Basket, and express yourself! The articles based on coaching concepts that I write biweekly for the Romanian-Canadian newspaper ACASA have a similar cascading effect.
If you don’t have a business, I guess you might want an example too. 😉
Back in the winter of 2004, I was working in Quality Assurance – a field that didn’t provide me to much satisfaction. I had a very good salary, but we know that money are not everything, right?! With a friend, we’ve start creating a group of skiers and go to Blue Mountain every Saturday (sometimes Sunday too, carpooling). The group started to grow every week and we had a lot of fun together. I’ve noticed that my enthusiasm was also spreading on Monday through Friday (either because of the fun had last week-end, or anticipating the next one). My manager started noticing my enthusiasm at work and gave me a better feedback. So what I was doing outside work was reflecting on my work performance too! I’ve developed great friendships and a lot of leadership skills in that experience (very useful later on)!
Two days ago I’ve encouraged a colleague to focus more on her strengths. “I’m not like you”, she said, “I can’t be so active”. Thanks God she’s not! It’ll be boring to be all the same! 😉 But she has great skills and personality, and a lot of strengths too.
So please get out there, use your strengths and interests to develop a more diversified Career Basket … and let me know how it works! 😉 Ah… something else: don’t be attached to the results you believe you should get; overall it might be much better than you’ve imagined! Patience plays a role in this game too! 🙂