Career 12: Time for a career tune-up?

By Steve Hart

Jane Kennelly of Frog Recruitment. Photo / Supplied
Jane Kennelly of Frog Recruitment. Photo / Supplied

When you wake up in the morning, do you want to go to work? If not, it's time to take a career check.

As we come to the end of each year many start asking themselves if they can face another 12 months where they are, Jane Kennelly of Frog Recruitment says no one need feel trapped by thinking the only way is out or that they can only work using their dominant skill set.

"People need to ask themselves if they feel proud of their job, and if they are in the right seat, on the right bus, going to the right place and doing the right job," says Kennelly.

"If people feel negative about doing the same job in five or 10 years' time then that is also something to consider."

Kennelly says the work environment is ripe for people to start looking at jobs around the fringes of their current career.

"For example, it would not be unusual if someone in marketing got involved with event management, and then moved into corporate communications," she says. "Career pathways are very flexible now. People need to understand what their skill set is, what skills are transferable and the types of roles they are drawn to."

Kennelly says employers are more open to taking on people who may not have the perfect skill set, but can make a good start and have the right attitude.

"It is still a candidate tight market, so now is a really great time to be looking for new career opportunities, there are still more people than jobs, but it is the quality of the people that counts," she says. "Hot talent is still hard to find. Now is a great time to be seeing what is out there."

Kennelly also says the corporate ladder has been replaced by a lattice - going sideways is now an option not to be frowned at.

"The phrase corporate lattice is being knocked around a lot. You can go sideways, break the routine and still get a pay rise. The days of just going up are over," she says.

"A person's career pathway can be a wonderful journey, a textured piece of work. Candidates are slowly cottoning on to this."

To the malcontents at work, Kennelly says it may well be that the job you are in is great but that money is the issue. Too many years of firms using the recession to avoid stumping up for a pay rise is wearing a bit thin, she says.

"In the list of drivers for people to move jobs, money used to be well down the list of things people were concerned about," she says. "But I have noticed over the past couple of years that it has become more important as job hunters realise they need to earn more to improve their standard of living.

"Employers telling their staff that this and that can't happen because of the recession is wearing a bit thin. Many people feel they are being stalled at the moment, they want organizations that are committed to developing their staff. Many people are ready to take action to improve their lot."

Alison Fisher has been working as a career coach for eight years, she previously worked in HR at the BNZ and NZ Post and says there are plenty of people doing jobs they don't enjoy.

"Yes, a person might be unhappy in a job but there is no reason to just sit there and continue to be unhappy," she says. "Someone unhappy at work should do things to keep themselves happy and motivated. First decide what you want. Get the right attitude, get the right belief - it might take a while - but the answer will come."

Fisher recommends that anyone who feels unsettled at work sit down and talk it over with their manager.

Kennelly says a common misnomer is that now is not a good time to be changing jobs, when in fact it is an excellent time to see what's out there.

"Unlike a few years back, employers do understand that they can't get the perfect candidate who ticks all the boxes. But they do look for the strongest person who has most of the skills and who can quickly learn the rest on the job," she says.

Kennelly recommends that everyone should be continuously learning and developing their skills.

"People need to be open to new methodologies - social media is here to stay - look at your personal brand," she says.

Fisher says: "I think people are always looking to move forward at various stages in their lives. You have to keep up your networks now, it is so important, you can't just rely on the internet or recruitment agencies to find you a job.

"You really have to get out there, keep in contact and connect with people. Even when you leave a company, stay in contact with former colleagues."

Unhappy at work? Ask yourself these questions...

* If I was in the right job, what would be different to where I am now?

* What are you doing now that you would take to a new job and what would you leave behind?

* What's the problem? Your pay, the firm, the work you do, your colleagues, your clients, or your manager? Try to define the bugs before jumping ship.

* Have you got the skills to do the next job? If not, get them.

* Stuck in a rut? Volunteer to take on projects at work and gain new experiences. You might make some new connections that lead to new opportunities.

* Bored at work? It's no one's job but your own to make life exciting.

* If you can't spice up the job, spice up your life by taking a course, starting a hobby or volunteering to help someone.

* Scared to look for a new job? Don't be. Now is a good time to start looking - the right attitude will help overcome lack of skills.

* Steve Hart is a freelance writer at SteveHart.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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