Is it time to switch your career partner?

February is upon us already, the month of romance around the world. Relationships are incredibly important for fulfilment in our lives. But did you know that one of the most important set of relationships is within your career?

Richard Edge
February 1, 2024

Whether it be with the organisation that you work for, the people that you work with, or the work that you are actively undertaking, in our lives on average between the ages of 25 and 60, an individual will spend almost 70% of their life either conducting work in their career, or at least thinking about the work in their career. Yet often people don't take a step back to think about how fulfilled they are within these relationships, and what really matters to them.

A lot of people finish their studies or their youth and move into a career where perhaps something was recommended to them, or an opportunity came up. Suddenly, time flies by and they've retired, and they never really took the time to prioritise themselves and assess those relationships. So today, let's take a look in this month's newsletter at three main important most important relationships within a career

The Organisation and its Leaders

Your Colleagues

Your Function

The Organisation and its Leaders

Many studies have been done to assess fulfilment within individuals careers and lives.

Some of the most controversial studies have highlighted that economics are not actually an indicator of motivation or fulfilment, and that actually finances can be a demotivator; once people get past a certain level, they no longer motivate or fulfil the individual.

The 3 key elements that are important to fulfilment are:

Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

Autonomy is the ability to be self-directed.

Mastery is the ability to continue to improve.

Purpose is a belief in what you're actually doing that matters.

An organisation's values, purpose, mission, and what it's doing is incredibly important for an individual to have purpose. Many times, I meet people in certain industries that have no connection with the end product of what it is that they are doing. This is often a cliche within the financial services industry. People move into it to make a lot of money and then they find themselves in their 40s thinking about what have they done with their lives, and did it really matter? In other industries such as healthcare, many people move into the sector because their purpose is so important to them. But as they scale the hierarchies, they recognise that the industry is often skewed by politics rather than the needs of the actual patient which is why they moved into that industry in the first place. This can lead to one wondering whether they're in the right space at all.

My advice for assessing your relationship with your organisation is to assess its leaders on an annual basis.

Are the leaders present ones that you aspire to be? Do you respect them? Are you motivated by them? Are you proud to be associated with them and their behaviours? Similarly, is the vision and the strategy of the organisation moving in a direction in parallel with your own? If the answer is no to any of these questions, then perhaps it's time for a new partner.

Your Colleagues

This could include your immediate line manager, but it does not include your manager’s manager (aka grandparent manager) or anyone above that tier. It may include your subordinates and it may also include your day to day colleagues within your own department and in the departments across the organisation.

I was recently asked what was the best job that I ever had?

My answer was very simple. Being a HR Business Partner at Whipps Cross Hospital in East London.

The reason for this was not to do with money, nor with the work. But it was the people. It was the best team I had ever been a part of. I felt loved within that team, and we all had very different skill sets and backgrounds that came together in a perfect mixture of talent.

We supported each other and we backed each other. I remember once there was a particularly difficult challenge and myself and three of the colleagues from the leadership team, were called to the boardroom. As I was walking towards the boardroom, it's the only time in my career when I've taken a moment to look at the faces of the three people that I was with. I honestly said to myself, ‘wow, we can do anything’, and I genuinely believed that and had this sense of huge fulfilment at the role that I was playing and the people that I was with. Those relationships were fantastic.

My question to you would be when considering the quality of your relationships with your colleagues.

How much do you know about your colleagues lives?

How much do you look forward to seeing your colleagues?

How much do you add value to your colleagues work?

How much value do your colleagues add to your work?

If the answers to these don't leave you thinking that you're in a positive place, then perhaps it's time for a new partner.

Relationship with the work that you actually do (Your Function)

Those that work with me will often hear me refer to the work you undertake as a profession as your function.

You may work in project management, human resources, marketing, or data analysis. Ultimately, this is the work that you are doing on a day to day basis. It's separate to your sector. It's separate to your organisation, separate to your colleagues and it's incredibly important because ultimately, this is the thing that you are being paid to do and what you have chosen as your vocation in your life.

My homework for this section is to think about the last 12 months. What are the specific 3 occasions when the work that you have done has given you joy?

This doesn't have to be a huge project that took three months, it could be one day, one meeting one outcome, one interaction, one piece of feedback. But my challenge to you is this, if you can't think of 3 within a 12 month period, where the work that you do on a day to day basis is giving you joy, perhaps it's time for a new partner.

We've explored in this newsletter, three key relationships within your career

The organisation and its leaders, your colleagues, and your function.

I hope that most people reading this, conduct the homework and recognise that they are in a good place, and maybe it has caused them to realise that they take some things for granted.

But if you do your homework and you realised that actually maybe there is a need for change, the best counsel that I can offer is this. Join a good quality trusted support group and have a good quality careers partner in your corner to talk things through, to hold you to account on your progressive journey and to make sure that you make the right moves for you. If you would like to have that conversation with me, send me a message. It would be great to talk.

All the best,

Richard Edge

CEO & Career Coach | Careerships

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