Career Mentor Series:
|Career & Work Life Matters
Vol 3, no. 02
|Should you heed employment-related media stories? This article discusses a different type of story, your own internal story, and why you should pay attention to what it means for your work and your life.
Discover a simple way to develop greater insight into how your internal story might be influencing your career choices.
Which Stories are Relevant?
Today’s 24/7 news cycles means that most media stories are short-lived. Do you read employment-related news and wonder what they mean for you?
Did you see a recent Forbes magazine story that was widely reported about why employers should be more concerned with retaining their employees as the recession recedes. Is this good news for employees? Trends in the desired direction are a good thing.
But there is also discussion about fundamental changes in the world of work. If you browse business publications you might have seen the article by Anya Kamenetz in the February issue of Fast Company magazine. She describes the four year career as part of a “a new and bewildering world of work” that is characterized by “insecurity, volatility, and risk“.
What do these stories mean for you as an individual? If you are unemployed, underemployed, or even exhausted because your workload feels impossible, you may dismiss these media stories as irrelevant or misleading. Do you feel as if your day to day experience is lost among discussion that focuses only on the big picture?
Stories: External & Internal
Such external stories can be useful in keeping up with trends in your industry, as well as in the world of work. But often it is your internal stories that have the most immediate impact on your life.
In his book, 18 Minutes, Peter Bregman talks about how the stories we tell ourselves directly influence our motivation and success. Each of us construct our internal stories to make sense of our experiences. How aware are you of your internal stories?
How to Get Inside your Own Story
Bregman suggests completing the sentence: “I am the type of person who …… ” In his view, our decisions are informed by our answers to this question, whether we answer it with awareness or subconsciously.
Make sure the story you tell about yourself (sometimes only to yourself)
inspires you to move in the direction you want to move.
Bregman (2011) p. 179
Your Story & your Career
You can focus this question on your current work or future career goals. What comes up if you complete 2 statements: “I am the type of person who …..” and “I am not the type of person who …..” in relation to work.
What insights do your answers provide that might be relevant either to the work you do now, or want to do in the future? How has your story changed? How is it changing as you learn and have new experiences? Are there parts of your story that no longer serve you? What will you let go of? The good news is that because we construct our own stories, we also have the power to take them apart and rewrite them.
Knowing yourself and the unique contribution you can and want to make can function like a “lighthouse”, especially important when the seas are choppy. Being mindful of your internal stories can help you to navigate increasing uncertainty in the workplace. Taking the time to observe your internal stories allows you to evaluate the ways they support or hinder you in your work and your life.
A Story to Rewrite?
For example, you may discover that you tell yourself that “you are not the type of person who is good at presentations”. Is presenting an important element of your career success? If it is, do you want to change that part of your story? What can you do to make it a priority to develop that skill? What’s the first step?
More often than not, changing your story requires more than attempting to change thoughts. In this example, it also involves taking action to develop new skills. Assuming that you learn the skills you need, you can rewrite your story based on the results of your actions.
I invite you to share your comments in the box below.
|Update your Job Search Skills
Free Monthly Virtual Training
SIGN UP HERE to get on the class invitation list.