Avoid the Arbitrary – Move With Purpose
Nothing that you do should ever be arbitrary. That is what I was told in professional resume writer training. When writing a resume, every word, every bit of positioning, every design element has to have a thought out reason – a purpose behind its use. Think about it. Completing a process in which everything you do, every step you take is premeditated and not wayward.
Do you think this methodology is reserved just for highly programmed code writers or artists? Perhaps, but there is a lesson in approaching pursuits both small and large deliberately and with mindfulness. When searching for a new job or planning and following through with a career development decision being random or inconsistent decreases your chances of achieving your goal. Getting what you really want and need from your work requires focus and sound decision-making. Easily said and understood, right? Yet the reality seems to be that most of us feel like we’re chronically afflicted with attention deficit disorder when it comes to putting into action one of life’s most important undertakings – achieving a career of meaning.
It becomes easier to approach career development systematically when you have a framework of best practices within which to operate. Professional people have all they can do to stay current and productive with their fields of expertise plus all of the activity life in general throws at them. Expecting that career management will come naturally or be fully understood with just conventional wisdom is not reasonable. Acquiring the necessary resources so as to comprehend the career process is desirable if you want control over the direction of your life. The good news is that the study of career development is not particle physics. You can prepare yourself or get a professional consultant to help. But either way, devising a customized plan that yields a career which optimizes life is deliberate, purposeful, and not arbitrary.
The issue arises, however, that just because we have the needed information to plan career development direction moving forward effectively is something else. Decision-making, the base skill required, is a complex concept. How we orient ourselves to the world and its inhabitants and how we take in information both factor greatly in how we make decisions. It’s helpful to reflect and to self-observe the way in which we decide among important choices. Just as there is no one optimal personality there is no one best way to choose. But refining our skill in decision making is paramount if we are going to act strategically and not randomly.
When helping clients think strategically about career related options I like to get a sense of their desired outcomes. It’s useful to know what kind of ball to keep one’s eye on. Achieving outcomes that lead to fulfillment, satisfaction, stimulation, and contentment can form the basis for individual strategic planning. Giving personal shape and meaning to these objectives is the first step in acting purposefully. Whether the goal is to simply extract pay and benefits from an employer or whether it’s to satisfy intrinsic motivators, having a clear idea of what you want from your work is key.
Sure, there is plenty to be said for the role serendipity and good luck play in how our lives go, but acting deliberately and shunning poorly thought out and arbitrary decisions can go a long way in helping us to live lives of full measure.