How Careers Work … and How to Work Your Career


Key Insights Into Dynamic Careers, Engaged Employees,
and Resonant Organizations

One-track careers are nearly extinct. Careers that started in the mailroom and ended in the corner office are now relegated to the realms of myth and legend. A generation ago we were told to expect three or more sequential “careers.” Now we are shifting to a “gig” economy and can expect to have three or more careers at once. Even if you hold a full-time position in a stable organization, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be doing that job eighteen months from now.


How Careers Work…

Leaders, over the course of an entire career, develop through a combination of experiences, relationships, and education.

About 70% of development comes through on-the-job experiences, including, taking on challenges that are outside your comfort zone, managing others, managing managers, figuring out how to achieve results, and recovering from failures. 

About 20% of development comes through relationships with others, including peers, network connections, mentors, coaches, leaders you watch and emulate — those you watch and vow never to emulate — and peers who are willing to interact and provide feedback.

Only about 10% of development comes through education, including college, technical and skills training, reading and applying what was read.


How To Work Your Career…

In order to navigate this turbulent and ever-changing sea of employment you’ll need a compass—a set of guiding principles that help you navigate to that next spot on the horizon.

Your “Sweet Spot” is that compass. It’s the constantly moving and ever-evolving intersection of the answers to three basic questions: Who are you? What are you good at? What adds value?

Who are you?

What do you love? What motivates you? What’s important? What do you value? Where are you in your career? Who do you aspire to be? How much runway to you have in terms of money?

What are you good at?

What are your credentials? Your degrees? What’s your experience? Your expertise? What skills have you been applying lately? When people come to you for help, what kinds of things do they ask you about?

What adds value?

What will people pay you to do? What can you do that brings value worth paying for? What does your team need? What does your company need? What does the universe need?

Whether your working full-time, contracting, or looking for your next opportunity, the constant tension between these three questions is what propels careers forward. Navigating by way of your sweet spot will help you bring more vibrancy to your current position as well as point the way to what you should aim for eighteen months in the future.


What’s Next…

  • Contact me for more information on keynote presentations or workshops on building vibrant organizations.
  • Download a PDF brochure for How Careers Work…

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