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Home > CareerCamp, Education, Seminar, Show, Speaking, Video > Career Compass Presentation Clips – Combined Transcript

Career Compass Presentation Clips – Combined Transcript

January 8th, 2015

I recently completed the clips from my long talk, Career Compass: Finding Your Career North. This is a combined transcript of all the clips which should provide a distilled version of the entire talk. You can view all of the video clips using the playlist below. You can watch the¬†entire¬†presentation at Career Compass: Finding Your Career North on YouTube — Douglas

Career Compass Presentation Clips - Combined Transcript

Career Compass: Finding Your Career North with Douglas E. Welch – Combined Clip Transcript

This is the session, Career Compass: Finding Your Career North. Come on in. I did this talk a few years ago. This is based on on a column and podcast I wrote many years ago for my Career Opportunities podcast and column. Because I run into a lot of people — myself included — who don’t really know what they want to do for a living. The old adage of asking the young kid, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Well, people ask me that question and I am sort of like, “Mnnnnnn–I don’t know.” Because I do — what I’ve decided to do instead is I do a lot of different stuff. That is not usual. Typically most of us have some driving passion that pushed us through things or at least one or two. It is rare you will find someone like myself that has 5 different blogs and 3 different organizations and all this other crazy stuff. But hopefully, the Career Compass can, first of all, help you find a way to the work you truly want to do and also give you a guide for evaluating new opportunities that come along throughout your career.

So I’d ask you to imagine that you had a magical compass. Your had a compass that would lead you through your life and show you exactly where you should be going. Like Jack Sparrow’s magic compass in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, it would tell you exactly where you wanted to go to what you most desired. The fact is, you already have this magical compass. We all have it inside of ourselves. It’s our desires. It’s our wants, our needs and our desires. We instinctively know oftentimes what we want. The problem arises when we start to ignore those things and do things that go exactly due south of where we want to be headed in our lives. We have all done it. I’ve done it myself. Everyone of my friends has done it. We’ll be going along and working in this direction when all of a sudden a job will appear and we’ll say, “Well, it’s a job. It pays. I’ll do that job for a while,” without every realizing it is nowhere in our desires to actually do that job. Perhaps it’s work we don’t want to do. Perhaps it is a business we don’t want to be in.

When we’re following our desires, in the terms of the Career Compass, we are headed due north. Now, typically, when you’re on a ship and you’re navigating somewhere, you might want to go any of the directions, but I use North as the point where we all want to be. If we’re going against our own better interest — our own desires, our own wants, our own needs — we’re headed due south. I am going to draw a little compass on the board a little bit later that will illustrate this and give you some ideas of how to figure out where you are on the compass.

People sometimes ask me, “Why should I chart my own course? Why don’t I just go into business, do what everybody else does and go into the same job that everyone else has and so on and so forth?” The fact is, we’re all unique individuals. Look around this room. Just by our shear looks, we look different. We are unique even more so in our thinking and our attitude and our actions. Why wouldn’t we all have different desires of what we want out of our career? It only makes sense.

Too often, though, we let sameness be forced upon us by the outside world. Many companies out there are looking for cog to fit their machine. They’re not looking for something neat, cool and unique and funky and all this. They’re looking for a cog that they can hire and go Pbbbflt. The fact is, those aren’t necessarily the companies you want to work for. Your goal is to find a company that works well with your wants needs and desires, not simply a cog that plugs in . The other reason for that, of course, is cogs are easily replaceable. If I can pull one person out and stick another person in there, your job’s not secure. Your career isn’t secure. so, you want to avoid simply being a cog in the machine.

There are those that manage their career at every step. Every time they evaluate a job or opportunity or an interview they look at that and say, “How does that fit with what I want to achieve in my life?” There’s the other side, which many of us I am sure know and in some cases I have been this person, who have simply let their career happen to them. They take the first job that offered. Whether it has any interest to them at all. When it has any direction to where they want to go in their lives or their career. It’s simply they take one job, then the next, and the next, and the next, and they wake up 20 years later and go, “How did i get here?” Because they had no plan. Because they weren’t watching where they were going. They weren’t setting their course. Someone else set their course for them and I will tell you, that if you don’t manage your own career, there are more than enough people who will gladly manage it for you. They will say, “You need to go work over there and you need to work over here” and you’re going to wake up in 20 years and wonder, “How did I get here? How did I get from there to here?” You’ll have no idea, because it has simply been a case of taking whatever presented itself along the way.

I’d like you to really to think about your careers — to manage your careers. You deserve a great career. The tagline for CareerCamp is “Helping to Build the Career You Deserve” and that is actually the tagline from my Career Opportunities column and podcast. And I was sitting writing one night and that phrase came to me and I truly believe it. You deserve not just a good career, you deserve a great career. And the way to get that — what you can do for your own best interest — is to manage your career yourself. To take interest. To be actively involved and not just bouncing from one job to the next. That’s not to say that that won’t happen to you on occasion. it happens to all of us on occasion, but when you see it happening, you recognize it and go “Ah!”. Ok. I see what happened here. Now I need to get back on course.

Now, after I’ve said that about being on course, I’m going to somewhat contradict that and say, in reality, you can’t ever really be on course totally. If you think about a ship navigating the ocean or a plane navigating the airways, you’re dealing with tides and currents, wind — in the case of an old sailing vessel. Ships never go in a straight line. They’re always being pushed one way or the other and so they’re constantly correcting their course. So, they figure out “I’m here and I want to go here. This is the main direction I want to go.” So, i realize, “Oh, I’m a little too far to the east. I need to go back to the west. Oh, I’m a little to far to the west, I need to got back…” and you have to constantly manage that course. You have to correct that course.

Imagine a poor airplane that also has to deal with the third dimension of up and down. You realize that, they draw these perfectly straight lines on those maps on the airplane. No. That’s not they way the plane is flying. The plane is constantly going back and forth and sometimes its the autopilot correcting it and sometimes it’s the pilot correcting it. That’s the truth when you’re navigating through your career, too. You’ll lean to the east a bit. You’ll lean to the west a bit. The point is getting back on course and knowing where you are wanting to head because, the trouble is sometimes you get off on this course and then you don’t watch the compass. You don’t think about your career and what happens? You go shooting off and the longer you allow that to happen the further off course you are. That’s why they say that space travel is such an amazing thing, because it’s like hitting a postage from a universe away. Because they have to navigate through all this gravity fields and everything else and yet put it, after several million miles, in the size of a postage stamp on the other planet. Well, you can imagine, if they ignored it for even a fraction of a second that’s what’s going to happen. They’re going to miss that planet entirely and end up in deep space somewhere because without correction the error simply multiplies every single day.

The first step of the Career Compass is plotting your presents– your present — figuring out where you are today. Now the way — again, forgive my drawing skills — but here is our Career Compass. We have north at the top. South at the bottom. East and West. Going back to what I said earlier, being “on course” is considered due north, in my little metaphor here.

If you then divide the compass into 4 quadrants like that, you get northeast, northwest, southwest and southeast, these take on a certain meaning. First of all, upper-right. Upper-right deals with our present. It’s work we are doing today that we actually enjoy doing. And when I say work, I don’t necessarily mean your job. I want you to think about aspects of your job. “Oh, I really like dealing with the customer, but I hate cashing out my cash register. That drives em nuts because its all fiddly numbers and stuff.” Or “I don’t like dealing with people, but I can be on the phone with people or I love being in the back room working on fiddly bits.”Think about all the tasks you do in a given day and how much you like or dislike them. This isn’t about whether you HAVE to do the work. This isn’t about saying, “Well, I gotta do it so its part of my job.” This is about actively thinking about what you want to do. What you like and dislike. Then you start plotting those tasks on your compass. And things that you really like doing you may put up here. I really like talking with people. I really like dealing with the customer. Boy, I really hate dealing with money and numbers. Kids? Yeah, I like working with kids. Maybe seniors I like working better with. I don’t like managing. Or maybe I do like managing. I want you to step through all of the tasks you do in a given day and think of it in the way of “Things I am doing today that I like. Things that I am doing today that I dislike.” Using South as the negative We’ll say that things in the southern quadrant, the southeast quadrant, things that I’m doing but I really wish I didn’t have to.

So, a couple of days later, I want you to come back and look at your compass again. See if you have any further thoughts about what you’re doing today. Maybe this one shifted down into here a bit. Maybe this one shifted out a bit. Maybe you thought of a few more things that you liked or disliked as part of your job.

Then, I want you to think about the future. The future entails Northwest and Southwest. North again being more positive is the good stuff. Northwest is the corner where you put stuff you’d like to be doing but you are not doing now. Maybe you would like to be a deep sea fisherman. Put it on the board. Maybe you would like to work with numbers more. Maybe you really like numbers. Maybe you like math. Maybe you have facility for it that you have discovered over the years. Maybe you like music, but you’ve never really pursued it. Think of all those things that you would like to do but you’re not doing today.

We all have interests in our lives that we’re not pursuing. My joke is that I’m the world’s biggest dilettante. I’ve sold a piece of artwork. I’ve played music for money. I’ve one other things, but that’s not my job. It’s stuff I do on the side and I am sure that all of us have things like that. Maybe you do arts or crafts or gardening or landscape design or whatever in our own lives. Think about it. Maybe, well if I really like doing that why can’t I make that part of my job. If you like being outdoors and you like gardening and you have a facility for it and your knowledgeable in it — or you feel you could become very knowledgeable in it with just a little bit of work — then why are you working in an office 9 to 5 punching keys on a computer? You might begin to realize right away that that’s probably not the best place for you. Why not investigate that interest in gardening and see if maybe I could do a job that has something to do with that?

Maybe you’re a musician, like my friend Andrea, and you have to make things work out. Well, one of the ways for musicians that I often recommend — and for other people that have outside interests — is, if you can’t do the job fully — if you can’t be a full time musician, perhaps you can be a part time musician while working in a company that deals, in some way, with the music business. You can exploit your interest in music by using it in different ways. You could use your knowledge of the music business to actually end up supporting and financing your interest as a musician yourself. I call them hybrid careers. Often times when people are transitioning I will talk to them and I’ll say, “well, what do you do on the side? What other interests do you have?” And perhaps they’re a lawyer or a paralegal or something like that, but they really don’t like working in a law office. One of the things I recommend to them is, “Have you ever thought about working for a software company that makes software for lawyers? Because you have some technical skills and you actually, sort of like the tech side and playing with computers. Why don’t you take your legal knowledge that you built up and you don’t want to simply throw away, but apply it in a different way?” If you’re a musician, why don’t you work for a software company that makes music software for kids? Or develops other projects for children based on on music. There are ways of taking your interests — the things you’re not doing today, but would like to do — and actually either build them into your current career or build an entirely new career.

The final quadrant — the nasty old, Southwest. We don’t want to spend a lot of time time down here. This is where, I am sure, some of you have spent some time. These are the quadrants — which is, things you don’t like to do and things you never want to do. Say you were a, say you were thinking of being a teacher, but you suddenly realized that man, you really hate little snot-nosed kids. You just can’t stand them and they aggravate you so much. That’s telling you something, right? You don’t want to be a teacher. Or you don’t want to be a teacher at the elementary level. I know it sounds silly and I often say silly things for the effect that they have. If you don’t like kids, put that on your chart — if you don’t like working with kids. Then you will avoid all the situations where you are forced to work with children. You would be surprised how many people don’t pay attention to something like that. They simply ignore it, because a job is presented. Bam! I got to take it.

You will be in situations in your life. I have been in situations in my life where you are truly desperate. Where you are desperate for something. That is the time you take a job like that. If you are not in desperate and dire straits, I consul you, please, look for the next, best, job. It is out there. It is out there and the more work you have on here in the Compass the more you will be able to understand that. You’ll understand that Wow, that job is going to be really tough. Can I do it for 6 months? Yeah, I can do it for 6 months. I wouldn’t want to do it for a lifetime. Go into that job with that knowledge clear in your mind.

Oftentimes what happens to people is we get a job and we simply stop looking for the next job. We’re like “Whew. Ok,” but then we come home every night and we’re just ticked off, because it isn’t a good fit for us. I counsel you that you’re never really not looking for a job. For 2 big reasons. 1. You may need a job, if the job you are currently working in disappears — which we’ve all experienced. 2. Opportunities will present themselves and too often, if we’re in a job, we simply ignore them. The opportunity comes to the door – -“Hey, I got this great idea.” And you’re like, “Nah, I got a job,” and the opportunity goes by and goes to somebody else. if you are thinking about your career, your are attuned and are watching for those opportunities that come out of nowhere. They comes out of a chance meeting at a Starbucks or at a CareerCamp or online somewhere on Facebook. You never know when they’re going to occur, so you have to be ready to take advantage of them. So know, down here, what you truly do not like and will never want to do in your life. I don’t want to be a deep sea fisherman. I get seasick. It’s too much work. I really, Deadliest Catch, I watch it, but that’s it. I’m not going to do that. Knowing this about yourself is very, very important. As much as knowing what you do like.

For me, this is the most important quadrant of the whole compass, because if you are headed in your career here or here, you’re doing great. You’re heading — you’re either doing stuff that you like to do or heading towards stuff you would like to do. You’re understanding that you’re looking for opportunities. If you take a job that is filled with stuff you hate doing or you’re looking at a job you really don’t ever want to do that, you can imagine that is not where you want to be. And yet, I see people there all the time. I talk to people who who are utterly desperate about their work. It is making them sick. i have been in a situation whereI have been made physically ill by my work situation. It’s not fun and it need not happen. Partially, it’s because people have not thought about what they want. Intuitively, they know, but everyday — it’s like the boat wants to go this way and everyday they are turning it to got the other way. You can’t do that. If there is anything else I can reinforce with you today, you deserve better than that and you need to listen to what you want.

If you’re working in these two quadrants — if you’re down here — you are actively sabotaging your life. You might as well go out and shoot yourself in the foot because that is exactly what you are doing every single day. You’re trying to get to America. You’re Columbus trying to get to America and you’re going the wrong way. He’s going to end up in Africa because he turned around and suddenly decided to go East for some reason. It is that ludicrous. Don’t do it if at all possible.

Te next thing about the Compass that really is effective is it allows you to evaluate opportunities that present themselves. If you see an opportunity that is sitting up here in this quadrant, you’re likfe Yeaaaaaa. Score! ANd you pursue that with your heart because that is taking you exactly where you want to go. See something going this way? Still good. Still cool. Cool stuff you like doing. I can do that. Stuff I’m doing now. Ok, maybe I can parlay that into a bigger role, a higher salary, a better title. Whatever. Because I have been doing that already. I’m experienced in that. So, when you’re — when you bump into the guys at Starbucks, and he says, “Well, I need this IT guy to come in and do this networking stuff for me” and you can say “Yeah I can do that.” That’s in my realm of my career that I want to head into.

Sometimes I think we get into the idea that “Well, that’s a good job!” Well, yeah, it is a good job, but not for me. It’s a good job for someone who has interests in that area, but we allow ourselves sometimes to be (sound of shoving) — whether it’s familial obligations, our parents pushing on us, or whether its our peers pushing us or society as a whole pushing us, –“No No. no, you have to fit into that hole. Right there. That’s your hole. And I said that’s your hole and that’s where you are going to stay.” You need to push against that.

We’ve come a long way, but we are still carrying with us a lot of baggage from the 1950’s and the 1960’s. I would caution you to those ideas that you have in your mind and perhaps that we inherited from our grandparents or our parents and reevaluate them in the light of the 2000’s. Because it has changed so much. The invention of the Internet alone has dramatically changed all of our lives. If nothing else had changed that one thing would still have been just a traumatic change in our lives.

Finally, with the Career Compass, one of the things you need to do is revisit it regularly. Once a quarter. Once a month. At least every 6 months. Sit down — this is work for you. Working the Career Compass is work for you. This is something you are doing for yourself. Not for anybody else. And it’s deserved work. It’s important work that you need to do for yourself. Sit down and re-think the Compass. How have things changed? Maybe you’re in a better job now and you’re working more in these quadrants and you are like, “Hmm, where can I go from here? Now that I’ve got those desires” — what is the name of the guy who developed the scale of need? Once your need at one level gets — Maslow? — Maslow! Thank you! I knew it was an M but couldn’t think of the name. Once you get needs established at one level, you start reaching for the next level. So, that’s what you’re doing in your career. Once you get a little stability in a career you like, then you can start to set those “stretch goals” to use the buzzword — set those goals a little further out there. “Well, now I’ve got this. Maybe I — now I can fine tune this. I want to work over here and do more of this particularly more defined piece of work.” You can do that. But again, you’ve got to correct your course as you go on. Every 6 months, you’re there. You’re correcting your course. You’re making sure you’re still headed where you want to go.


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