Knock, knock… who’s there?

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Some jobs are readily identifiable – doctors and lawyers for example – whereas other roles are more fluid and difficult to pigeonhole. If you are a sales or marketing manager for example, or involved in HR or other administrative role, you can easily transfer between a range of sectors. You may be in construction, or private health, or entertainment and leisure, and each sector is vastly different – and offers vastly different experiences. However, if your job is made redundant, you are still the same person, regardless of your job title. When your next employer comes knocking, which ‘you’ will answer the door?

Identity crisis

We think of ourselves at work as ‘I am a…’ and that tends to define us partly as a person too. This is especially noticeable when you first meet people, or in a networking situation, where first impressions matter. In these instances, a shorthand is often required to get your role across quickly and succinctly. We want to impress but we also want to accurately define what we are in terms of our career. In the workplace, some roles are easily identifiable – roles such as doctor or lawyer do what they say on the name badge. And even in those cases, there are all kinds of specialisms and subdivisions across the industries.

Opportunity knocks

Our work – in part – makes us what we are and shapes where our career path will take us. We need to think both what makes us human and also where our work strengths and weaknesses lie. Often they intersect. Unless you’re the Queen of England, anyone can switch roles, change tack and follow any given career. What is life but a chain of opportunities that you either take or you don’t?

Sometimes passing up what looks like a great opportunity does you more good in the long run, but often good opportunities can be passed up without realising it, because you’ll never know how they worked out. If you only think of yourself in your current role, in your current sector, then your career advancement may never get beyond your imagination. On the flipside, if you chop and change between sectors and roles, you may have trouble deciding what (or even who) exactly you are and what your job entails.

Split personalities

There’s also the phenomenon on the portfolio career. This is someone who has a multitude of jobs, often around the same discipline – say accounting, or writing – which they carry out concurrently. In this case, the identity crisis is even more pronounced, if one day you are doing one role, on another day another. Some kind of compartmentalisation is required, and you need to draw lines between where one role ends and another starts. Of course, it’s even more difficult to condense what you do into a single sentence, for that networking session, if it involves an array of disciplines and even sectors. It suits some people, others less so, and often depends on your motivational and organisational skills.

Career Consultants like Career Evolution can help you to define what makes you the person you are at work. Your strengths, weaknesses, skills and aptitudes. We can also demonstrate where you can identify your transitional skills, that can help you make the leap from one sector to another. Being dexterous and adaptable is all part of forging a successful career – just don’t forget who you really are in the process…

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.