Congratulations Momma! You’ve decided to re-focus on your own career! Between the dishes, laundry and constant tug on your jeans by your little one, even taking the time to think about what YOU want is a feat in itself!
So now what? Whether you are already working, or just considering getting back to work, the biggest question is “what do I want to do?” It sounds so easy but it often brings up a lot of confusion and anxiety. So you start to ask your friends and family and you read a lot of blogs that tell you to: “Just Follow Your Passion!”
What’s the problem with this statement? For starters, we're often passionate about lots of different things. Not to mention, what you were passionate about at 22 isn't necessarily going to be the same as in your thirties and forties. As we grow and change, our passions and our priorities shift. So where to start? Try asking yourself these 5 questions:
1. What lights me up and gives me energy?
Take a look at your day-to-day life. Which of your everyday tasks make you feel energized? This can be anything at your current or previous job, like delivering a project on a tight deadline, or outside of the office, like planning a fundraiser for your school. Think about how your body reacts to these occurrences. Do you get excited? Do you smile when you talk about these parts of your day?
2. What are my natural talents?
Why do people ask you for help? Are your friends and family always asking you to create a plan? Do your co-workers come to you when they need help creating spreadsheets? Do you naturally want to be at the front of the room sharing big ideas and presenting or do you dig into the details?
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3. What recognition am I receiving (from managers, peers, friends, clients)?
If you're having a tough time putting a finger on what talents you have, take a look at what you've been recognized for at your current job. Has your boss thanked you for jumping in at the last minute to help with a project? Were you thanked for fixing a friend’s computer glitch when their entire home system crashed? Take a look at what gets noticed by others. These may sound like small instances, but they're very valuable anecdotes to start to create a list of what’s possible.
4. What does success look like to me?
Take a minute to imagine how you would feel after a successful day at work. What does that look like for you? Did you lead a team to help achieve business goals? Or maybe you concocted a solution for a tricky client barrier.
Success means something different to each of us. Mapping out what it means to you in terms of things like your work-life balance, daily tasks, flexibility and compensation will help bring you a step closer to finding the right career fit.
5. Why do you want to do the work?
There are two important parts to this one. First – why do you want to work? Whether it’s to support your family or just because you need some adult interaction, it’s important to understand your personal WHY. But knowing your personal why goes a step further…WHY do you want to do THIS work? As you start to gain clarity around what gives you energy and your talents, you ultimately need to connect to your work and that’s all about knowing why you are doing that work? How do you want to serve? Who do you want to serve? The majority of jobs are focused around service – whether it's for a client, a consumer or an individual. It’s important that your WHY aligns with the work you’ll be doing.
Take the time to learn how you work best, what you're good at and what makes you feel fulfilled.
Trust me – the right job will be much easier to find once you know what it looks like.
Meet our Mama!
Mary Beth Ferrante is a Career Coach specializing in working with women in career transitions, particularly expecting moms, new moms and those returning to the workforce. She helps them discover what inspires and drives them towards their best career fit. www.marybethferrante.com