Conversations with Myself: The Search for the Perfect Career

Woman Thinking at Desk Animation

After reading an article by Jeff Haden entitled “Three interview questions that reveal everything” which was based on an interview technique he learned from John Younger, the CEO of Accolo, a cloud recruiting solutions provider I started thinking about my own career in terms of where I started in relation to where I am today and how I got to this point.

In the article he suggests that every recruiter asks three questions when looking at the work experience/career path of the candidate applying for the position:-

1. How did the person find out about the job?
2. What did the candidate like about the job before they started?
3. Why did the candidate leave?

I reflected on my own career and asked these questions about each of the jobs I held over the years.

• Look at all the job vacancy boards available?
• Look at general job adverts in the various newspapers (print) and online newspapers and job portals?
• Attend job fairs and career guidance exhibitions?

This is where most people find their jobs but if you always find jobs in this way (according to the article), you probably have not figured out what you want to do – and where you would like to do it i.e. which company you want to work for.

This method shows the recruiter that you are just looking for a job – any job. It means that any job will do until something else comes along.

By the time you get to job number 3, 4 and 5 in your career and you have not been offered a job or recommended for a job by someone you worked for previously, it shows you did not build relationships, develop trust and you have not shown a level of competence that made someone go out of their way to recommend you.

Great employees work hard because they appreciate their work environment and enjoy what they do. This means they know the kind of environment they will thrive in and they know the type of work that motivates and challenges them – and not only can they describe it, they actively look for it.

• For a better opportunity?
• For more money?
• The employer was too demanding?
• You did not get along with the boss/manager/your colleagues?

The answer you give to this question shows whether you are a team player and take responsibility for your actions.

Some people never take ownership and always see problems in the workplace as someone else’s problem – they are never to blame nor see themselves as contributing to the problem – it’s always somebody else’s fault.

If you have always “had a problem with the boss/manager/your colleagues” it means that you will always blame others for what goes wrong at work – you will not take responsibility for what you did wrong in the workplace and in that relationship.

The article went on to speak about:

“Great employees go out of their way to work with great leaders”. If you are tough but fair, and ou treat people well, they will go out of their way to work with you. The fact that employees changed jobs so they could work for you/with you, speaks volumes about your leadership and people skills.

All of this has made me think about my own career path and career choices. I have had good relationships with everyone I have worked for and with. I have not burnt any bridges in my quest to move on. I have not gone back to a company I have worked for before purely because I felt it was time to move on – I usually only leave when I have exhausted all the growth prospects available. My lifespan at a company is generally between six (6) and ten (10) years which means that by the time I leave, I have made the choice to never go back.

I am once again in that position. I have been in my current position for the last 10 years but joined the organisation as a temp/casual worker two years prior to that so I’m actually here just over ten years now.

While in my current position, I have been “seconded” to the Human Resources (HR) unit on more than one occasion to assist with organisational transformation – gender and disability mainstreaming, the Employee Health and Wellness Programme, Employment Equity (compiling and submitting reports), assisting on recruitment and selection panels and even being part of interview panels. I have been responsible for internal electronic newsletters (one being an HR electronic newsletter) to keep staff up to date with what’s happening in the HR department and the HR field in general in terms of legislation etc. and even attempted to get the staff involved in Corporate Social Investment (CSI) projects.

I have made one last attempt to apply for a higher level position. If I don’t get that position I’ve applied for, then I have truly tried my best to move on within the organisation. So if asked why I want to leave my current position, I guess my answer will be because I’ve exhausted all my options and it is time to move on.

I will always enjoy the work I do now (Communications) and it will always form part of any other job I do so I will never really leave the field but I really would like to work in the Human Resources field. I have a passion for people (human behaviour) – for understanding why they do what they do.

My passion for understanding human behaviour and why people do what they do has led me to study towards a BA Criminology degree through Unisa. The aim at the end is to work as a Criminologist/Profiler but while getting there I would like an opportunity to use my skills in the Human Resources Department.

In addition to the degree I’m busy with, I am also currently one of the trainees on Disabled People of South Africa (DPSA) Disabled Women Leadership Development Programme (DWLDP) being trained as a workshop facilitator to work within the disabled community helping them to understand their rights as disabled people in their communities and in the workplace.

While in training, I initiated a newsletter for our group as a means of sharing information with other trainees. I am responsible for sourcing content, editing content, layout/design and publishing via e-mail.

I am also involved in an advocacy and lobbying group called Women Demand Dignity (WDD) lobbying for the rights of men, women and children in the area of gender based violence. I am responsible for the social media aspect for the group and manage the Facebook page as well as our blog at:

Conversations with myself: Journaling – what’s your story?

Coloured pencils writing

I am not really into writing journals – I’ve tried many times but always end up getting bored or running out of things to write and end up abandoning my writing as soon as it begins.

I found this piece on journal writing somewhere and thought you might find it useful for your own journal writing. I have adapted this from the original article extracting the information I thought was useful/good to know so I am not the original writer of this piece. The writer shall remain anonymous for now as I cannot remember who wrote it nor where I actually found this piece.

Journal Writing – What is your story?
Journal writing – the process of putting your thoughts down on paper and reflecting on them – is an easy, therapeutic way to explore life’s big questions and begin a constructive dialogue with yourself.

Personal Development
Have you ever made a map of your life? If not, try it:

Take a large sheet of paper and, starting with your birth, record the key events, the significant people, the major challenges and the high points of your journey so far. You can draw it any way you like; as a spiral, or the branches of a tree, or a series of bubbles linked together.

The idea is to put down what you remember, leaving space to fill in the gaps as other memories surface. What emerges in front of you is a picture of the path you have walked, the people who have travelled with you, the choices you have made and the curve balls life has thrown at you.

• What do you think of this story?
• Do you like the way it is developing, or would you prefer to change direction?
• What chapters still need to be written?
• How would you like the story to end?
• Which characters are uplifting and interesting?
• Which ones are draining and difficult?

Is this story full of angst and drama, or is it mostly safe and quiet?

Every woman or man has a story. Whether yours is happy or sad (probably a bit of both) acknowledge it, just as it is, for what it has taught you and where it has taken you. But acknowledge, too, that you are the author of the story.

Even though events may have shaped you into what you are today, you have the power to choose what influences you from this moment on. You may have a blockbuster of a story, but it need not control you or define you. The real you is the awareness behind your experiences; the real you can observe and decide what you want to focus on.

Most women and men see the world from inside their own particular story. They don’t appreciate that other people have had a different set of experiences that have shaped them in other ways. The trouble with only seeing your own point of view is that every situation, conversation or conflict is run through the filter of your past conditioning, leading you to react out of your history rather than being able to respond appropriately in the moment.

That is why reviewing your life is so important. It’s not that you want to wallow in the past; rather, you want to see what parts of the past need to be dropped, resolved or healed, so that you can have all your resources fully available to you in the present.

Questions to work with:
• If your life story was a novel, what would the title be, and what would some of the main chapter headings be?
• Where in your life do you have a ‘poor me’ story? How much does this story define you?
• What is the payoff for holding on to this story? Perhaps you get attention; perhaps it gives you an excuse for not moving on.
• What or who would you be without this story? What would change?
• What are the best things that have happened in your life, and who should you thank?
• Who do you need to forgive, and who should you ask forgiveness from?

Conversations with myself: Perfect peace . . .


When Was The Last Time You Gave Away A Precious Stone?

There is much magic in the parable below. Without specifically saying so, it emphasizes the true rewards for having attained Personal Peace.

“There was once a wise woman traveling in the mountains who found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and she opened her bag to share her food.

The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked if she might give it to him. She did so without hesitation.

The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But only a few days later he came back to return the stone to the woman who had given it to him.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I’m giving it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. I want you to give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

-Author Unknown