Why Can’t I Pick A Career? 4/4
This is the fourth and final article in the ‘why can’t I pick a career?’ series. In part one we discussed changing your mindset when considering a career.
In part two we discussed how you can focus on a mission and build career capital using deliberate practice in pursuit of your mission.
In part three we discussed how you can cash in career capital without betraying your ikigai evaluating my career so far as an example in practice.
In this final article, as a working example, we will discuss how I plan to take the learning for this series and implement it in my career going forward. We will also summarise the series and answer the initial question of “Why Can’t I Pick A Career?”.
What now for me?
From what I have learned by dissecting my career throughout this series and the interviews I’ve done as part of the career stories section of the Get Into Nuclear website, is that I need to ignore my passions when making decisions about my career.
Instead, I need to put more effort into focusing on building rare and valuable skills and career capital in alignment with my missions. To validate the skills I’m looking to develop I will use money as an indicator of value. If people are not willing to pay for it, it is not a rare and valuable skill.
Regarding my profession as a Project Manager, my mission is to become the MD/CEO of a major nuclear employer — as an employee or the owner of my own business. This will be achieved by building career capital through deliberate practice and is something that will reward me with a nice salary as it is a valuable role in the industry.
Self-Determination Theory — Tick; Ikigai — Tick;
My belief is that the best way for me to do this is to complete my Chartership as a Project Manager this year whilst continuing to work as a Project Manager in my day job.
I should then have enough career capital to find my way onto a major, significant nuclear project for the next 5 years or so, before looking for a role as a Project/Operations Director. Once I’ve built 5 years of career capital as an Operations Director, I can focus on creating my own business or becoming MD/CEO of an existing business before I reach the age of 50 —for info, I am turning 40 in 6 months at the time of writing.
With Get Into Nuclear, my mission is to make the business a success in that it supports the whole of the industry by increasing public acceptance and attracting new talent and making a healthy profit. At the moment it takes too much of my time and money.
My longer-term intention has never been for Get Into Nuclear to replace my work as a Project Manager. I have always thought that helping to deliver nuclear projects is where I can add the most value to the industry.
However, I do want to make Get Into Nuclear a success as I genuinely feel that it has a place in supporting the industry. However, based on what we have learned in this series, I cannot act on this feeling alone, I need to focus on finding what the nuclear industry needs help with.
I plan to do this by taking a step back and seeking to find rare and valuable skills that the industry would be willing to pay for. Again, this is not necessarily about the money, but as a validation that the skills are rare and valuable enough for me to invest time in.
This will not be easy to do, but by trying to find businesses that have done something similar, speaking to key influencers in the sector to gain feedback on their major issues and assessing any gaps we have, I should be able to identify valuable business offerings.
I will also consider what, if any, open doors I can find from my existing career capital. Is there an opportunity from within my project management experience or network?
This will give me what I need to work on upskilling, networking and marketing using baby steps, rather than giant leaps, to seek market validation of value.
I will take a couple of weeks to think about and plan what my next moves are. I will certainly keep you posted.
The conclusion to all of this is that if you want to find happiness in your professional life (ikigai), don’t start by figuring out your “passion.” Instead, identify some potentially rare and valuable skills, then push yourself to become a practitioner with a single-minded intensity.
It’s only then, once you’ve built career capital, that you’ll be able to find that opportunity in the adjacent possible where your meaningful “mission” hides.
Why can’t you pick a career?
My response is; why do you want to?
Depending upon where you are in your career, pick some skills that you deem to be rare and valuable, either by modelling successful role models or undertaking a skills map and identifying any gaps you have.
Then use deliberate practice to become a practitioner. It is here that you will be presented with a career.
Many of our emails and posts at Get Into Nuclear finish with the statement that “there has never been a better time to get into nuclear”. This is true as there is a huge demand for people in the sector which gives rise to many open doors (that have been closed for decades) for people who have built career capital via skills transferable into the sector.
You may or may not grow passionate about the nuclear industry, but your commitment to your mission to be the best Mechanical Engineer, Electrician, Quality Assurance Manager, Administrator, Marketer or Project Manager will provide you with happiness in your work.
Your career is your path to finding happiness in your working life.
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