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Thursday, 27 October 2011 02:25

Finding Your Career

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I happened across this short article when doing some studying for a class. Thought it had some pretty good career advice! I feel pretty lucky, like I have found my career "Sweet Spot" as a geek.

 


Finding Your Career "Sweet Spot"

By D. Quinn Mills

We increase the likelihood of advancing in our careers if we can bring together what motivates us (our passion) and what we are good at (our capabilities). We call this intersection in a person's career one's "sweet spot."

Unfortunately, it may prove difficult to find our sweet spot because we may not be good at something that we feel passionate about. There are areas that some of us may have passion for - art, music, dance, sports, food, entertaining - but it is often more difficult for a person to develop a full-fledged career in these areas.

One way to help bring the two together is to try to obtain the skills and capabilities necessary to succeed in something that we're passionate about. Sometimes we rush to find a job that is in our sweet spot, but cannot, because we haven't the skills to match to our passion. In such cases, it's better to invest the time in acquiring the skills necessary to do well in something we care about, and then look for the perfect match.

Many people go into consulting early in their careers for this very reason. In consulting a person can pick up a wide variety of skills, and develop abilities and personal contacts that will help one get a position in a particular industry.

Looking for job passion

Another partial step that may be possible for many of us is to find an element of our jobs that we are passionate about. For example, a manager in a health services firm might not be particularly passionate about the administrative work, travel, and internal politics, but he might have considerable passion about saving lives with the company's medical devices.

In some instances it may take a long time to find a career that matches our sweet spots. But as long as we keep this goal in mind as we pursue our career paths, many of us will eventually come across a job that comes close to our own personal special intersection of passion and competence.

For some of us there will never be an intersection of passion and competence in the work environment. But all is not lost.

First, many people take jobs that have no relation to their passions. They expect to dislike the job immensely, but instead end up loving the job. Why? Because of the people and the teams they work with, because of the positive culture of the firm, and because of the energy of the place. While they may not be working in an industry whose products they love, they've found passion for their jobs nonetheless.

For many of us, finding this sort of passion at work, regardless of the industry, might be a more plausible way to embrace our sweet spots. In this situation, the sweet spot is a working environment that motivates us.

For example, a young man has spent a bit of time working in a capital markets role. Although he doesn't love the hours or sometimes the companies he works with, he does enjoy the excitement of doing a deal. The fun he has - and the enjoyment he receives from the environment - compensate him for the parts of the job that he doesn't enjoy as much.

D. Quinn Mills is the Alfred J. Weatherhead Jr. Professor of Business Administration emeritus at Harvard Business School. He consults with major corporations and teaches on subjects of leadership, strategy, and financial investments.

Copyright © 2007 D. Quinn Mills

 

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Layne Cope

I am a geek. A Windows geek to be exact. I do all things computer. I do like outdoor activities; camping, fishing, riding my hawg, etc. but I always gravitate back to the computer. In fact, between work, the biz and other stuff, if I am not on the 'puter for 14 - 16 hours a day, I feel deprived!

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