Monday, 4 April 2011

C is for Career Charisma

Ooh. Alliteration. But what’s the point? What does it mean?

There’s something amazing and inspiring about career progression, personal growth and professional development. People moving onwards and upwards appear as if they’re being propelled into the dizzy heights of leadership on a rocket trajectory. They’re on a totally positive spiral of doing more, achieving more and getting more in return; and it’s easy to want to follow in their footsteps.

So where’s the harm?

There’s plenty of interesting psychology about goal setting; in particular about how to achieve your goals where others have given up and failed. But what’s out there to describe the endless cycle of next steps that we get caught up in? 

School systems train us to work for that year’s exams, take a quick breather (and long summer holiday) to switch off and forget about it for a while, and then it’s back to the grind for the following year’s exams. At their worst, curriculums can focus solely on preparing kids for exams; instead of encouraging leaning for learning’s sake or diversifying talents. (That’s to say nothing of curriculums at their best; which are of course developing stars of the future.) 

And when we get to work? Many people follow the same patterns; diving into working life striving for the next goal, the next pay rise or the next promotion. Of course, this reaps great rewards both for the individuals (more money and a feeling of success) and for the organisation (better workers). But are we missing something? Is there more to work than the next rung on the ladder?

If you’re a writer, do you bask in putting pen to paper or fingers to keys; riffing and rhyming and playing with words? Or do you get a book finished, send it off to be published, and move on? 

If you’re an architect, do you relish in creation, innovation and renovation? Or do you get the job done and start again? 

I think Career Charisma is magic actually. A beautiful thing. But I also want to encourage a sense of reflection, achievement, and drive for its own sake. Consider how you can develop, push and grow in other ways – not only by getting external recognition at work. 

What makes you feel excited? What inspires and drives you to do great things?

Whatever you answer... that’s your key to happiness.

Promotions and pay rises will come and go – and they’ll always be available if you’ve got the right skills, abilities and attitude. But daily enjoyment and fulfilment from work? Now that’s the real enigma. That takes real time to find and flourish.
And that’s a goal worth fighting for. 

  • Blog challenge status: 4 days in, 3 posts down, 1 Sunday off; 23 to go!
  • People watch status:  Unbelievably touched by all the positive comments and blog rounds people are doing; this challenge really is working. 


  1. Nice post. Very thought provoking. I find that I reflect a lot on my work and my writing. I think about it quite a bit during the day. It is who I am.

  2. I agree, thanks for bringing up this subject.

    In my day job, I don't have that much in terms of excitement and inspiration - it's creative work, but not much in the way of goal setting - I get handed a priority and have to figure out how to achieve it.

    With my writing, I always get inspired by the story I want to tell first.

  3. Indeed, very thoughtful. I think the problem is that I like so many things that I find it hard to choose. It's easier to say what *doesn't* inspire me than what does. I enjoy both left-brained and right-brained activities. I do love the act of creation, and hope to be able to continue doing this thought writing for several decades, but this needs to be followed with the typical "don't quit your day job", right? :)

    East for Green Eyes

  4. A thought-provoking post. You've given me plenty to think about!

    Ellie Garratt

  5. Thanks for another thoughtful post. Interesting timing as I look to a bit of a shift in my career. Hmmm, what makes me happy?