November 11, 2011

doing what you do best at work everyday?

One of the items measuring employee engagement in the Gallup Q12 survey reads: At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day. I'm sure deep down we all know that this will affect how we feel about our jobs, but have you actually thought about answering this question for the current position or line of work you are in? Would you agree? Strongly agree? Maybe even strongly disagree? More importantly, do you know what it is you do best??

After doing several personality/interest/aptitude tests (and lending my ears to way too many opinions), I have come back to believing two simple truths:
  1. Things that I have loved doing since my childhood are probably indicators of my natural strengths. I have always been a social butterfly. I have loved giving advice and helping friends solve their problems since I can remember. I have also loved writing and being creative since primary school, and I excelled in my language subjects. So after all this time wondering how I should be advancing in my professional development, I have returned to focusing on these natural strengths. Now I'm writing my own career blog (loving every creative minute of it) and I'm working in HR (relishing in all things human and social at the office). Most importantly I'm creating my own career path instead of copying someone else's.
  2. Trying to succeed at things I'm not strong in is definitely possible, but bound to be exhausting and/or frustrating. I recently decided to further my studies in 2012, and had to choose a major. My initial choice was to do an MBA, based on the fact that I wanted to up my business savvy. But I have no natural interest or feel for economics, and so I was trying to fix what I believed to be wrong with me. I'm sure I could have fought my way through the economics and management accounting, but it would have cost me a truck-load of blood, sweat and tears as I would be going against my natural grain. So when thinking back to the things that come naturally to me, I realised that I would excel in a position where I can work with people, give advice and think strategically. That's when I decided to enroll for a Professional/Management Coaching programme in stead, it felt like a big old weight falling off my shoulders .
I do realise that we all do not have the luxury or opportunity to be picky about career choices and qualifications, and some of the things we might be good at do not translate into the salaries we need. Companies also don't have the luxury to customize each individual's role to fit him/her like a glove. But even if it might be a novel idea, I do believe it to be a very important factor to consider when you do decide which field to specialize in.

Do you know what your natural strengths are? Why not check out the StrengthsFinder2.0 assessment if you are looking for a way to identify them.

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