I painted the fence over the weekend. Took me bloody ages and I got sunburnt in the process.
Whilst I was busy brush stroking away, it got me thinking that what I was doing – was just like what we all do – or should do, when it comes to career management.
I know I sound bonkers, but this is how I came up with this artistic analogy…
When you paint a fence – firstly you have got to be in the mood. There are lots of other things to do other than spend hours on end moving your hand left and right, up and down and getting paint splattered all over your face. You have to be up for it, ready and motivated.
When you paint a fence you have got to have a strategy. You have got to decide how you will approach the task. Will I do little circles, will I start at the top, will I do the edges first then splatter the middle bit like a game of paintball etc. You’ve got to plan it.
When you paint a fence you have got to learn as you go – the easiest and fastest way of getting it done. It may be that you do the posts first – as they suck up all of your paint faster, or that you do the tricky bits up front so at least you get them out of the way. You’ve got to be agile.
When you paint a fence you need to take a break. You need liquid hydration (especially in the sunshine). You also need to step back and inspect it and make sure you haven’t missed a bit or generally review it and fold you arms whilst being proud of your Michelangelo-like master piece. You’ve got to reflect.
When you paint a fence – you need to get some instructions from your boss (my Wife in this case) on colour and you also need to get an expectation on budget. You’ve got to get clarity.
So how does all this relate to Career Management?
Motivation. You have got to have a passion and love for what you do, otherwise, don’t bother doing it!
Strategy. Will my current role lead to another? How will I gain the right experience for my future? Where can I add value? What might I do next? You need a plan.
Agility. You have to be willing to, no more than that, you have to want to learn more. How can you develop yourself by learning from others? How can you expose yourself to new skills, tasks and challenges.
Reflection. You sometimes need to get off the hamster wheel and either take a break or take a look at where you are headed. Don’t get comfortable because in this world what is a career anyway? Or should I say, where are the old “jobs for life” that our grandparents did?GONE – thats where.
Review. You also need to take stock of what you have achieved. Where has it got you? What have you enjoyed the most and where have you added the most value to employers or customers?
Clarity. You need to get direction/advice/clarity what ever it is that you need to get on the right track.Talk to recruiters,networks, friends and family – they will often help to guide you to the right career decisions.
Finally, make sure you do a good job or the wife will not let you have a nice cold beer without telling you off because “You’ve missed a bit…”
Disclaimer – this is not a picture of my Wife and she has a bigger rolling pin.