As people professionals we often are tasked with helping guide our candidates and employees towards the right career paths. Often I find people are either chasing job titles or pushed into career development plans that they may not even be passionate about. One quick example – employees who strive for management positions when they actually don’t even like people. Many talented individuals walk into my office asking me what their next job should be, what their career path looks like, or confiding that they have lost their passion.
A few years ago there were a lot of articles published about burnout. It is my experience that typical work burnout does not come from working too many hours, instead it comes from lack of passion. For example, I love training employees. I could train employees for hours on end and not get burnt out. However, make me look at spreadsheets for two hours and I’m over it.
How do we guide our talent towards career fulfillment, instead of just chasing a title that will clearly lead to either burnout or lack of passion and success?
- Encourage your people to focus on who they want to be instead of what they want to be.
- You don’t want to be a manager, you want to be the person looked at for motivation
- You don’t want to be a senior analyst, you want to be the person providing data that helps makes good decisions.
- They used to love their job, but lately they are feeling just blah.
- Discuss what they used to love and have them write it down. Are those things gone?
- Ask them if they have felt appreciated or valued lately, if not, what do they need?
- Is it because they used to feel challenged, and now they are coasting? Perhaps you can add additional responsibilities.
- Find out what large aspects of their careers need to be met in order to feel fulfilled. Write those down.
- For example, my list includes: Autonomy to make decisions, ability to motivate and build talent, ability to be innovative and execute, a leader who supports me.
- Once this list is created, look for careers that fill those buckets.
- Remember, fulfill can mean “to make full.”
When I was younger, the job title that I was chasing was, “Director of Training.” Had I stopped there, I would never be where I am today. By chasing a job title you limit yourself to many opportunities that will come your way. You may miss out on true job fulfillment. There is absolutely no way that I would have seen myself in my current role 10 years ago – oh what a journey I would have missed! When we as talent professionals push people towards a set career path or ask them what job title they are striving for, we may be missing the big picture and unknowingly setting them on a path of chasing a dream that will either never come, or worse, putting blinders on them so they miss out on other more rewarding careers.
Hitting a goal of obtaining a job title leads to very short term satisfaction. If you want your employees or candidates to stay, they need to be fulfilled in their careers, and it is our job to help guide them there.
Kylie Quetell is an Organizational Development professional, focusing on people, strategy, and process (notice that “people” is listed first). She is a Chief Operating Officer and a phenomenal public speaker, coach, and leader. She holds a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and certifications in Leadership Development and Change Management.
Kylie was formally a national champion rugby player, and has coached high school and women’s club sports. She has also volunteered her time working with Veterans and for environmental causes.
A Maine native, Kylie brings a love for salty language to her current home in Metro Detroit where she lives with her wife, dog, and cat.