Career In Action: List your strengths

I find listing my strengths easier than listing my weaknesses but nevertheless it is still hard, as is any self evaluation because I lack genuine objectivity. This being said it is a useful exercise to do as it highlights what elements of a role you would excel at.


Just as when listing your weaknesses, there are three main areas. Technical (also known as skills), such as being great at Microsoft Excel (spreadsheets) or having an advanced driving license, interpersonal, such as being great at customer service or motivating a team and mental, such as having an analytical mind.


List them now and for each strength you identify, give an example of when you have used this strength successfully (this will help you in interviews later on).


Now take another look at the list and see if these strengths would be involved with any of your shortlisted career paths. If they aren’t there’s no need to fret, it simply means you have an opportunity to develop even more strengths!


Career In Action: To study or not to study?

This can be a really contentious issue. Many of us would love to study full time but simply cannot afford to because of existing financial commitments. But there are options, you could work part time if you think you would still be able to fulfill your study commitments, you could save over a period of time to take time out to study full time or you could even study alongside your full time job via distance learning.


For others still studying would rather be avoided, which is also fine, it just might limit your career choices or impact your entry level pay. Having said that there is a lot to say for practical experience and working your way up the career ladder is both exhilarating and rewarding, marking it a huge achievement.


To help you decide which pathway is best for you work your way through the following three sets of questions for each career option on your shortlist:


Study pathway

1. How much does the course cost (excluding distance learning)?
2. How much does the distance learning course cost?
3. How long is the duration of both versions of the course?
4. What would be my monthly living expenses?
5. Do I have enough savings to afford the costs involved? (look at both classroom and distance learning options)
6. If I don’t have enough savings how many hours would I need to work at minimum wage each week to afford it? Is working for that time conducive to the amount of study I will need to do? Is there an option to study part-time where the course is stretched out for longer but I would be able to work part-time without it distracting from my studies?
7. What is the entry level pay after finishing my qualifications?
8. What is the top salary for people with these qualifications?


Studying alongside a full time job pathway

1. How much does the distance learning course cost?
2. How long is the duration of the course?
3. How many study hours are advised per week?
4. Would I realistically have enough time to complete the course?
5. Am I being realistic with how much time I can dedicate to my studies?
6. What is the entry level pay after finishing my qualifications?
7. What is the top salary for people with these qualifications?


Work pathway

1. How much is entry level pay without any qualifications? What is the difference between this and the entry level pay after doing the qualifications as I outlined in my ‘study pathway’ and my ‘studying alongside a full time job’ pathway?
2. What is the top salary for someone without any qualifications?
3. How long realistically before I work my way up the career ladder to my desired level of pay and responsibility?
4. Can I manage financially whilst I am working my way up and if not can I rely on my partner or family for financial support in the meantime?


Career In Action: Current role – list likes and dislikes

Seeing as it’s Valentines it’s time to find out how much you love your current role and list your specific likes and dislikes. For now, separate the politics from the role itself – the politics list of likes and dislikes comes later.


As with any exercise like this, one list will invariably be easier than the other, but try your best to think of as many items for each list. The longer and more detailed the list, the better, as this will be a strong indicator of what future jobs will either be a perfect fit or a disaster waiting to happen.


Career In Action: Research your shortlist of career paths

The name of the game here is research, research, research!

For each shortlisted role find out:


How much could you expect to earn as a minimum and maximum (in your area) and what is the average salary?

Do you need to study? Is it not required, optional or necessary?

Are there other benefits, such as bonuses, working from home or being able to work for yourself etc?


Put all these details in a spreadsheet, word document or even on good old fashioned paper – you’ll need this later!


Career In Action: Questions you need to ask yourself to reveal if you like your job

It should be simple enough to know whether or not we like our jobs, shouldn’t it? In reality though, things aren’t always that straight forward. We live in a world that celebrates material gain and power, so when we ask ourselves whether we like our jobs, do these factors influence our answer?


If you earn a respectable salary and have climbed the ladder do you try to convince yourself you like your job because society thinks you should? And if you earn minimum wage but enjoy your work, do you feel guilty for not being more ambitious, choosing to find fault because you think you should be dissatisfied?


There are ten key questions we should all honestly answer when we are trying to reveal whether we like our work which are listed below. Be as honest as possible when answering them for yourself.


Finding Balance In Action: Family, friends, goals, sleep and vacations

Ok so I’m just going to dive straight in today as there is a lot to cover.

Schedule in time to catch up with family this week, either by phone, Skype or in person.

Schedule in time to catch up with a friend this week, either by phone, Skype or in person.

Write down what is important to you and ensure you pursue these goals even if it means saying no to others requests.

Do three tips from step ten in Monady’s series post each night this week, to aid your sleeping.

Plan your vacation / staycation dates for the next year so that you go no longer than three months without a break from work.

Wishing you all a truly blessed work / life balance!

x X x Jenny x X x

Finding Balance In Action: Eat more fruit and vegetables

Use this week to improve your diet and see if you feel an improvement in your vitality. Do you feel less sluggish? More alert?


I have to admit I find this one hard too but at the times when I have eaten more healthily I have noticed my complexion improve and my alertness increase, making eating carrots well worth the effort!


For more of an in-depth look into a healthier lifestyle please read my article titled ‘New Year, New Life’.


Finding Balance In Action: Read my Tiny Buddha article on self-esteem

Tiny Buddha article link =  ‘Learning to love yourself: 3 steps to instantly boost your self-esteem’.


Today take ten minutes to read my Tiny Buddha article and do the exercises as featured in each step, resolving to base your self-esteem on your character rather than your job. The feeling of liberation this brings is immense because you and only you get to decide the type of person you want to be, so in essence your self-esteem is completely within your control.


Finding Balance In Action: Introduce a reward system to avoid procrastination

I still struggle on a Monday morning to psyche myself up for work and if I’m honest my morning coffee usually takes a while to finish before I feel able to get down to business. One of the things I do to help myself avoid procrastinating is to introduce a reward system. To me this is having a five minute cigarette break after completing a task (I know, it’s an awful habit).


For you it could be going for a five minute walk or making yourself a cup of hot chocolate and maybe if you finish your morning tasks treating yourself to a bite to eat and a coffee at your local café?


Finding Balance In Action: Take lunch

Having lunch at your desk has become more and more common. Trust me when I say sandwiches taste much better when enjoyed in a kitchen listening to music and reading your favorite magazine. It’s a widely known fact that the more rested we are the more productive we become so commit to taking lunch every day this week and see the difference it makes, both on your productivity and your overall resilience and mood.


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