Are you surviving or thriving?

When someone asks us what our dream job is, what is the career we’d love to have, 9 times out of 10 we will name a job title, and then proceed to describe all the things we’d get to do, our responsibilities and assignments. Maybe we’ll describe the type of person we work for, our manager. Rarely do we talk about the kind of work environment in which we would truly thrive.

But part of the picture of our ideal job, our dream career, is very definitely the environment in which we work. We need to know where we will wither, and more importantly, where we will thrive.

Paula had changed jobs about 7 times in her 10 year career in IT. And she was miserable and frustrated. She was tired of changing jobs only to feel like nothing ever improved. She had chosen her field so thoughtfully. She loved this work when she was in school. But out here in the “real world,” nothing was as satisfying. She was also very scared that as she embarked on this Unearth Your Worth™ journey, she was going to discover she should have been a musician or accountant.

As Paula and I worked together through Stage 2: Imagine, for the first time, she began to really look at things like her preferred role at work. Did she want a collaborative or competitive environment? What sort of team did she want to work with? How would they operate? And how much autonomy did she really want?

She discovered that for most of her work history, she was hired as “the sole technical expert” – so there was no one at work to learn from, to bounce ideas off of. She really longed to be part of a team where there were others with technical expertise, peers she could collaborate with and learn from. She also realized that she was often hired as a trouble shooter, to fix things that had been developed, delivered, and then broke. What she really wanted was an opportunity to work on some new ideas and new projects. She began to make a list of her “Preferred Work Environment”, realizing that these elements were just as important as what her responsibilities were. She brainstormed all the things she wanted. She added to her list were things like flex time and access to public transportation. She rank ordered her list, and identified which things were “must-haves,” “nice to haves,” even a few “fun to haves.”

As Paula studied the items in her Preferred Work Environment, she realized she could craft questions to answer by doing company research and during the interview process. These questions would ensure her next job would provide an environment in which she could thrive.

Paula’s next job was in IT, but in a whole new environment. She loves her job, her company, and feels like she’s doing what she was meant to do, and in the environment she was meant to do it.

What’s on your Preferred Work Environment list? What are the qualities of the environment in which you truly thrive? Please share it on my blog below.


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Client Stories

When I first met Lori, I was in a rut. Having spent 25 years in the same industry, I was bored, max’d out and didn't know what to do next.  I was pigeon-holed into an industry that I was not so fond of, and saw no way to get out.  I felt trapped. Lori understood my predicament, as she had seen it all before -- she was sympathetic, but resolute in knowing that she could help me find answers.  I took great solace in that! 

Through several sessions and dozens of exercises, I began to get a clearer picture of who I am, and where my strengths and talents truly lie.  Working with Lori, I was able to translate that understanding into updated, targeted resumes that quickly produced interviews and gave me the confidence to express myself better than ever before. 

Consulting a Career Coach should be mandatory for anyone in today's work force, and Lori is the best at her profession.

Robert J. Norris, Warrenville, IL