6 Benefits of Working Part-Time Instead of Full Time

With employers increasingly hiring more part-time workers and fewer full-time staffers, many in the workforce are considering the viability of part-time employment. Beyond the obvious income ramifications, there are hosts of advantages and disadvantages to consider when determining if the part-time employment model works for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Working part-time is ideal for family-oriented individuals – especially those who value the opportunity to pick up their young children from school.
  • Part-time workers enjoy increased free time in which to pursue extracurricular activities.
  • Not only can part-timers save on gas and car maintenance costs, but they may also be able to shave dollars from their monthly auto insurance premiums.

More Free Time to Pursue Other Projects and Activities

Arguably the biggest advantage of working part-time is the increased free time with which to pursue extracurricular activities. For those lacking the requisite academic credentials for their dream job, a part-time position may serve as a stepping stone that affords the flexibility to obtain the certification needed find roles in their desired profession.

Others may use part-time jobs to climb the ladder within an existing field. For example, an individual with a social work degree can obtain part-time entry-level work that lets them simultaneously earn the graduate degree needed to land a more lucrative mental health job.

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This video outlines the ten main ways that I believe having a casual position is better than working full-time. It’s part of my “Why I don’t” series and it’s not meant to tell anyone else what to do, so try not to take it too personally, if you don’t agree with what I say. Want your name in the credits? Become a Patron on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/HappyandAuthe… Interested in my coaching program? Book a FREE coaching session: http://www.happyandauthentic.com/book… Ready for a major life change? Check out my FREE Happiness program: http://www.happyandauthentic.com/self… Get to know yourself better by taking this “Determine Your Values” test: http://www.happyandauthentic.com/dete… Contact me in the comments below or go to: http://www.happyandauthentic.com/cont… Like my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/happyandauth…

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Part-time jobs also appeal to those nurturing special projects, such as writing, civic outreach, and artistic endeavors. Such pursuits offer immense personal fulfillment, even if they don’t bring in large paychecks.

Opening Doors to New Job Opportunities

When there are no full-time positions available within a given company, workers may accept part-time employment to position themselves as the obvious candidate when a coveted full-time slot becomes available. A part-time job can also help individuals gain experience and training in fields unfamiliar to them.

After all, an employer who may be reluctant to hire an inexperienced person on a full-time basis, may be inclined to hire an eager candidate on a part-time basis if they express an enthusiastic desire to learn the trade.

Opportunity to Earn More Money

Although it may sound counter-intuitive, working part-time can sometimes enable an individual to make more money – especially if they are capable of balancing more than one job. For example, a person who pairs a 30 hour-per-week gig with another 20 hour-per-week gig may pull in a greater combined income than a single full-time position would provide. Furthermore, given that many full-time salaried positions demand 50- to 60-hour workweeks, this individual may still end up working fewer total hours.

Reduced Stress Levels and Improved Health

Studies show that full-time workers tend to feel worn out, due to insufficient time needed to exercise, enjoy the sunny outdoors, and generally commit to a healthy lifestyle.12 Contrarily, part-time workers have more time to hit the gym more often and get a better night’s sleep. Part-time employment also allows for more efficient management of daily tasks like grocery shopping, doing the laundry, and completing other household chores, ultimately resulting in more order at home.

«Paradoxically, voluntary part-time workers often experience decreased financial stress, because they conform spending to align with their income.3 This behavior is antithetical to the phenomenon known as lifestyle inflation, where one’s expenses actually expand with increased income. In other words: those capable of adjusting to a slightly lower standard of living often discover that working fewer hours is favorable to the demands of working full time.

The Importance of Family

Working part-time is ideal for family-oriented individuals – especially those who value the opportunity to pick up their children from school. Furthermore, part-timers may save on day care expenses, which may exceed the extra money earned by working full-time.

Although a certain income level is necessary to provide for one’s family, those who earn just enough to pay for essential living expenses, while sacrificing luxury goods, may find short-term work to be an unacceptable trade-off.

Saving Money on Transportation Costs

One possible situational advantage to part-time work lies in the area of transportation costs. Case in point: an individual who finds part-time work near their home may save more on transportation expenses than those who commute an hour or more daily to a full-time job. Not only can part-timers save on gas and car maintenance costs, but they may also shave dollars from their monthly auto insurance premiums, which are often mileage-dependent.

Source: 6 Benefits of Working Part-Time Instead of Full Time

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How to Build the Right Mindset to Change Careers and Learn New Skills Fast

There’s a reskilling revolution happening. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has spurred the evolution of how business is done. Whether positioning a new brand or as an authority in the marketplace it’s critical to realize there is a new awareness of the skillsets required by both staff and clients.

Businesses large and small are rethinking the requirements of employees as well as the technology necessary to deliver products and services to clients. This awareness is driving entrepreneurs in the technology and training industries to position themselves to win by offering courses specific to those skills.

Related: 4 Ways ‘Fake It Till You Make It’ Can Backfire

Businesses aren’t the only ones rethinking their futures. Given the significant disruption in the workforce and high unemployment rate related to COVID-19, individuals in the workforce are considering career changes as part of their post-pandemic plans. According to the Strada Education Network, of those individuals who have an interest in pursuing additional professional development and training, 64% say they will be looking to change careers, rather than get another job in the same field. This is a process known as “reskilling.” In fact, a recent report on CNBC.com estimates that approximately 17.6 million Americans will not be able to return to their pre-pandemic jobs, which will require them to learn new skills.

If you are a thought leader looking to support your clients through this upheaval, you are most likely considering how your expertise (content) can lend itself to the mass desire for reskilling. An effective way to do that is to ensure you position your expertise as learning programs that are developed through the lens of Edge Learning. Edge Learning is the continuous process of developing the peripheral skills that have the most impact on a person’s ability to achieve a successful and fulfilled life. Edge Learning is not about memorizing facts, technical skills, or understanding how to effectively use the tools of business. Instead, it seeks to develop a person’s soft skills

Let’s use workers in the field of accounting as an example. Every well-run business needs qualified employees in their accounting department. These are people who have successfully taken courses of instruction in accounting practices. This is a very specific and important skillset. When multiple candidates are considered for hire with similar training and experience, it is their peripheral or edge skills that differentiate them.

Those peripheral skills include the candidate’s level of confidence, their personality, the type and level of etiquette they demonstrate during the interview process and their communication skills—among others. In essence, what differentiates them is how they present themselves. Beyond the question of whether the candidates have the necessary education for the role is how well they work and if they will be a good fit with the rest of the team. The same hiring considerations apply for every role from those on the manufacturing line all the way up to the CEO. It’s their Edge skills that make the difference. And educators who can deliver skilled training in those areas, in an effective manner, are in high demand. Edge Learning is an essential component of the Reskilling Revolution!

Related: 11 Practical Tips for Successful Schooling at Home

Edge Learners know that confidence will make all the difference in the type and quality of work that comes their way. The world is craving confidence after all the recent uncertainty. That same Strada Education Network study referenced above reports 64% of Americans are feeling concerned, 50% are feeling cautious, and 51% are worried. Confidence has always been key to success, but it’s more important than ever in a post-COVID-19 landscape.

Changing careers

This is not surprising given the current state of the employment market. Though the unemployment rate has since dropped slightly, the employment landscape has permanently and undeniably shifted since April, when a staggering 22 million Americans found themselves unemployed. Given the significant disruption in the workforce, it is not surprising to find that many are thinking about how a career change fits into their post-pandemic plans.

Edge skills that are readily transferable are most desirable by workers considering a change of careers. In volatile markets, it is feasible that workers can expect to work through multiple opportunities before landing positions that best suit them. On the employer side, it has become painfully obvious that HR departments are expected to hire for multiple iterations of teams over the years. It is rare that workers and employers form long-term partnerships in today’s ever-evolving business landscape.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Training content developers need to be aware of not only the latest formats for delivering training but the multitude of avenues for distribution. With the increased development of technological resources, various users of content have their own specifications or requirements for delivery styles and formats. On top of that is the importance of keeping content relevant by analyzing it against the current marketplace needs and having a system for updating it.

It is important to carefully evaluate your thought leadership and the creation of your professional development programs to ensure they meet the needs of the current climate. Edge Learners know that the quality of expertise they receive will make a difference in how quickly they are able to create new opportunities. Learning experiences must be engaging and providing amazing outcomes. They must be delivered in multiple formats to meet the various learning styles of those who will take the courses.

Content created for Edge Learners must meet specific criteria to gain traction and succeed in the coming years. Those deeply involved in the reskilling revolution are bound to be cautious in their evaluations of various training programs. They want solid results as quickly as possible and will denounce any content or training programs that simply don’t deliver.

There are four red flags to avoid when attracting Edge Learners:

  1. The course does not promise a specific result. Instead, it makes vague promises about what the course might do for learners. Be very specific in the goal for each course and design it accordingly. Explore your industry vertical to see if your course qualifies for continuing education credits or some other industry-specific certification.
  2. The course is too broad. Content developers fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everyone. The result is that the course offers very little, to very few. Consider where consultation fits into your course development process. How much research has been done into the specific needs of your ideal clients? Were you already committed to a topic without first listening to what people wanted and said they need? If you already have an audience, that audience knows, likes and trusts you for a reason. Allow them to guide your course development to ensure it meets the specific needs of future prospective learners through surveys and focus groups. When you ask the right questions, your clients will tell you exactly what they want to own.
  3. The course is not implementable. If the course doesn’t provide tactics, strategies or a process for learners to apply, then there is no opportunity for them to put into practice the skills they’ve acquired—and generate tangible results.
  4. The course does not offer follow-up by the thought leader. Thought leaders need to be accountable for the content they create. Think about the overall plumbing of your thought leadership business. How are you best optimizing your connection to your audience and leveraging the technology at your disposal to make connecting with that audience easier? Your course is not a stand-alone – your website, your sales page, your newsletter, your social media, your learning site platforms, all need to work collectively to provide your clients with a holistic product they can trust. 

Jonathan Robb, Associate Vice President of Customer Experience & Engagement at NorQuest College is responsible to evaluate content specific to post-secondary institutions. He indicated that his considerations include not only the above red flags but that the skillsets being offered are in high demand both currently and into the future by industry and businesses. 

Related: Your Next Career Move Should Be Learning a Language with This ‘Apple App of the Year’

The reskilling revolution is at hand. The enhancement of soft skills is what occurs through real-world experiences and mentoring from leading experts and entrepreneurs. When new skill development is required, learners first turn to those who have been where they want to go. They value the experience and expertise of others.

The time to evaluate your content and training programs as to their delivery of Edge Learning skills in demand on both sides of the equation of business: business owners desirous of enhancing the skills of employees and workers wanting or needing to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Use these strategies to imbue your thought leadership programs with Edge Learning skills and strengthen your impact on this everchanging market.

By: Lisa Patrick Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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An Expert on Getting Fired Shares How to Suck It up and Push Forward

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Sometimes I get asked about hard decisions I’ve had to make in my career and how I’ve dealt with it. The hardest decisions in my career were the ones that were made for me. Namely, being terminated from a job.

As the effects of COVID-19 continue to unfurl, many promising careers are coming to an abrupt end. Headlines from all over the world are about companies large and small being forced to let employees go. It’s been a jolt to the senses.

I’ve had the “luxury” of getting let go (fired) from the last four companies that employed me. That’s right. I’ve been sacked four times in the last four and a half years. Before you pass judgement, I should note that I’ve over delivered and shattered every goal and benchmark I set from the start. Four years ago I moved from Washington, D.C., and entered the startup scene here in Copenhagen, Denmark. I brought my American work ethic and culture with me.

Regardless of the reasons I was fired—I don’t believe it was ever due to my processes, skills, or results—purpose of this article is to share with you how I’ve managed to spring back faster and stronger from being cut out of my job, time after time. … And how you can, too.

Get a reason.

In most cases, this type of abrupt change has given me a chance to reflect and re-frame my energy toward constructive growth. Self-reflection after being let go from a job is incredibly important. Even if you weren’t a fan of your previous boss or supervisor, there’s almost always a nugget of truth in their reasoning. It’s beneficial for you to consider it from his or her point of view.

I’ve always asked for a meeting a day or two after I sign the termination paperwork so I can gather my thoughts. I try to schedule an hour with my supervisor. And unless you’ve really messed something up, they’re likely to give you time. Why meet again after the initial firing?

Get some certainty: In many cases, you will replay the moments of that final conversation over and over in your head. Take notes on “the why” that led to the decision.

Get the story straight: Make sure that if you’re going to use your recent ex-employer as a reference, they have the right story and agree to give the positive side to your abilities.

Expectations of the future: Maybe you can ask about getting access to documents or files. Maybe there were some email connections you made. It never hurts to ask. The worst they can say is no.

Here are some additional considerations during your post-firing meeting:

Objectivity: Taking the objective route of working your way through thinking about the firing from their perspective can be cathartic.

Humanize it: Think of the person who fired you as a flawed human just like the rest of us and assume he or she made a decision out of something that was based in reason or fairness.

Beyond control: If the firing was only due to economic reasons, then rest assured that this happened through no fault of your own.

Angles: Consider the circumstances from all angles before moving forward. Would colleagues agree with the decision? Would a perfect stranger? Would it matter?

Post firing exercise.

In order to move on fast while growing as an individual and professional, I advise giving the following topics some thought. Write a few bullet points out:

  • Top 3 reasons given for being let go: X, Y, Z
  • Top 3 things I could have done to avoid this: A, B, C
  • Top 3 things I can learn to overcome A, B, C and avoid X, Y, Z are 1, 2, 3

If you couldn’t have changed anything, you’re nearly ready to move on. If you could improve something; save that. This should be the cornerstone of your road map moving forward.

changelly5Also important is to give yourself a reasonable period of time with a specific end date/time in mind where you are no longer going to allow yourself to feel bad about being fired. The last time I was terminated, I gave myself a total of an hour to feel sorry for myself. The first time I got fired I gave myself three days to throw myself a pity party. It’s OK to embrace all of the non-productive “woe is me” thoughts during this time. But once the time limit I set in advance was up, I set my mind into a state of focus on the next steps. Fight the urge to bring up or dwell on negative thoughts. They won’t serve you and won’t change anything.

Create your to-do list.

Step one to moving forward is starting something … anything. Often, the less time you put between your last day and getting back on your journey makes bouncing back much easier.

Focus on completing your to-do list. Put yourself into something that is cathartic but also measurable. Blend it with the three things you need to learn from the earlier bullet point exercise (Remember: X, Y, Z, / A, B, C, and 1, 2, 3). Even if you don’t believe in the reasons for your untimely exit, these points are still somewhat valid. Set a schedule that reflects working hours and begin working through your “to do list.”

Depending on your circumstances, you may feel that some self-improvement is necessary. Go for it. Find out what courses or books might help provide you with the insights and skills you need to take you to the next level. Perhaps even consider meditation if you don’t practice it already. A clear mind is ready for new challenges.

From there, of course, you’ll want to think about creating income. In other words, finding a new job. Spend time updating your resume, portfolio, and LinkedIn profile. While you’re on LinkedIn, consider reaching out to your connections. Someone you know in your industry might already be hiring for your next dream job. Never forget to ask for the job at the end of a meeting for just help in general. I always try to remember to ask people how I can help them for good measure, as well. Create a list of job prospects and keep it updated as your conversations progress.

Be proactive about staying positive.

Finding a new job might happen fast, or it might take some time. What should you do if the negative thoughts persist? Repurpose them into something constructive. Gamify it.

  • I’m not good enough = Work through a tutorial on YouTube and learn a new skill
  • Nobody will hire me = Make three new connections on LinkedIn or apply for three jobs
  • Nobody likes me = Read a chapter of a self-improvement book of your choice
  • I don’t have a network = Go to one event per week (virtual!) and meet three people

What came of my job losses?

I used all of my negative experiences as momentum and pure energy to drive forward. I went all-in on working toward setting meetings and interviews.

And you can do that, too.

After my last firing, I came to terms with my desire to run my own companies again rather than defer to others. Public speaking came first. I landed a ton of talks at meetups, keynotes, and guest lectures. When talking about what I was working on, I had a sense of humor about my job loss and used the opportunity to also mention I was looking for new clients and investment.

Ultimately, I went full in on my digital marketing/growth-hacking agency and proptech startup for architects.

Losing your job is not your identity, so don’t make it into one. Unemployment is temporary.

Remember things always get better when you’re being constructive. Building a to-do list and sticking with it should be your goal for now.

And whatever you do, don’t feed negative thoughts. They grow every time you give them a chance. Use any negative inclinations that spring up as momentum to get more done.

Never be afraid of asking for help. Put yourself out there. I’ve certainly done it here.

By: Taylor Ryan CEO Klint Marketing

bevtraders-2

How To Find The Right Career For You

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Everyone says it’s important to find a job you’re good at, but no-one tells you how to do so.The standard advice is to think about it for weeks and weeks until you “discover your talent”. To help, career advisers give you quizzes about your interests and preferences. Others recommend you go on a gap yah, reflect deeply, imagine different options, and try to figure out what truly motivates you…then chunder everywhere.

But as we saw in an earlier article, becoming really good at most things takes decades of practice. So to a large degree your abilities are built rather than “discovered”. Darwin, Lincoln, JK Rowling and Oprah all failed early in their career, then went on to completely dominate their fields. Albert Einstein’s 1895 schoolmaster’s report reads, “He will never amount to anything.”

Asking “what am I good at?” needlessly narrows your options. It’s better to ask: “what could I become good at?”

That aside, the bigger problem is that these methods don’t work. Plenty of research shows that it’s really hard to predict what you’ll be good at ahead of time, especially just by “going with your gut”, and it turns out career tests don’t work either.

Instead, the best way to find the right career for you is to go investigate – learn about and try out your options, looking outwards rather than inwards. Here we’ll explain why and how.

More Reference: https://www.careerenjoyment.com/career-test-free-aptitude-test-and-quiz

Reading time: 20 minutes.

The bottom line

  • Your degree of personal fit in a job depends on your chances of excelling in the job, if you work at it. Personal fit is even more important than most people think, because it increases your impact, job satisfaction and career capital.
  • Research shows that it’s really hard to work out what you’re going to be good at ahead of time, especially through self-reflection.
  • Instead, go investigate. After an initial cut-down of your options, learn more and then try them out.
  • Minimise the costs of trying out your options by doing cheap tests first (usually start by speaking to people), then trying your options in the best order (e.g. business jobs before non-profit jobs).
  • Keep adapting your plan over time. Think like a scientist investigating a hypothesis.

Being good at your job is more important than you think

Everyone agrees that it’s important to find a job you’re good at. But we think it’s even more important than most people think, especially if you care about social impact.

First, the most successful people in a field account for a disproportionately large fraction of the impact. A landmark study of expert performers found that:1

A small percentage of the workers in any given domain is responsible for the bulk of the work. Generally, the top 10% of the most prolific elite can be credited with around 50% of all contributions, whereas the bottom 50% of the least productive workers can claim only 15% of the total work, and the most productive contributor is usually about 100 times more prolific than the least.

So, if you were to plot degree of success on a graph, it would look like this:

Log-normal distribution of success of workers in a field

It’s the same spiked shape as the graphs we’ve seen several times before in this guide.

In the article on high impact jobs, we saw this in action with areas like research and advocacy. In research, for instance, the top 0.1% of papers receive 1,000 times more citations than the median.

These are areas where the outcomes are particularly skewed, but a major study still found that the best people in almost any field have significantly more output than the typical person. The more complex the domain, the more significant the effect, so it’s especially noticeable in professional jobs like management, sales, and medicine.

Now, some of these differences are just due to luck: even if everyone were an equally good fit, there could still be big differences in outcomes just because some people happen to get lucky while others don’t. However, some component is almost certainly due to skill, and this means that you’ll have much more impact if you choose an area where you enjoy the work and have good personal fit.

Second, even if you don’t want to contribute directly, being successful in your field gives you more career capital, which can open up high-impact options later. It also gives you influence and money, which can be used to promote good causes. Think of the example of Bono switching into advocacy for global poverty.

Third, being good at your job and gaining a sense of mastery is a vital component of being satisfied in your work. We covered this in the first article.

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Fourth, as we saw earlier, the jobs that are least likely to be automated are those that involve high-level skills, and technology is increasing the rewards for being a top performer.

All this is why personal fit is one of the key factors to look for in a job. We think of “personal fit” as your chances of excelling at a job, if you work at it.

If we put together everything we’ve covered so far in the guide, this would be our formula for a perfect job:

The personal fit multiplier

If you’re comparing two career options, you can use these factors to make a side-by-side comparison (read more).

Personal fit is like a multiplier of everything else, and this means it’s probably more important than the other three factors. So, we’d never recommend taking a “high impact” job that you’d be bad at. But how can you figure out where you’ll have the best personal fit?

Hopefully you have some ideas for long-term options (from earlier in the guide). Now we’ll explain how to narrow them down, and find the right career for you.

(Advanced aside: if you’re working as part of a community, then your comparative advantage compared to other people in the community is also important. Read more.)

Why self-reflection, going with your gut and career tests don’t work

Note that after we wrote this article, an updated version of the meta-analysis we cite below was released. The results (in table 2) were similar except that work sample tests seem less promising (though ‘job tryout procedures’, ‘peer ratings’ and ‘job knowledge tests’ remain fairly good and are similar to work samples); and interviews seem more promising. This could suggest a somewhat greater focus on predicting your performance ahead of time by speaking to managers in the relevant path. We hope to do a more thorough review of this research in the future.

Performance is hard to predict ahead of time

When thinking about which career to take, our first instinct is often to turn inwards rather than outwards: “go with your gut” or “follow your heart”.

These approaches assume you can work out what you’re going to be good at ahead of time. But in fact, you can’t.

Here’s the best study we’ve been able to find so far on how to predict performance in different jobs. It’s a meta-analysis of selection tests used by employers, drawing on hundreds of studies performed over 85 years.2 Here are some of the results:

Type of selection test Correlation with job performance (r)
Work sample tests 0.54
IQ tests 0.51
Interviews (structured) 0.51
Peer ratings 0.49
Job knowledge tests 0.48
Job tryout procedure 0.44
Integrity tests 0.41
Interviews (unstructured) 0.38
Job experience 0.18
Years of education 0.1
Holland-type match 0.1
Graphology 0.02
Age -0.01

None of the tests are very good. A correlation of 0.5 is pretty weak, so even if you try to predict using the best available techniques, you’re going to be “wrong” much of the time: candidates that look bad will often turn out good, and vice versa. Anyone who’s hired people before will tell you that’s exactly what happens, and there is some systematic evidence for this 3.

Because hiring is so expensive, employers really want to pick the best candidates and they know exactly what the job requires. If even they, using the best available tests, can’t figure out who’s going to perform best in advance, you probably don’t have much chance.

Oprah at first failed in TV
Oprah worked as a TV news anchor early in her career, eventually getting fired and being told she was “unfit for TV”. Now she’s one of the most successful TV presenter of all time.

Don’t go with your gut

If you were to try to predict performance in advance, “going with your gut” isn’t the best way to do it. Research in the science of decision-making collected over several decades shows that intuitive decision-making only works in certain circumstances.

For instance, your gut instinct can tell you very rapidly if someone is angry with you. This is because our brain is biologically wired to rapidly warn us when in danger.

Your gut can also be amazingly accurate when trained. Chess masters have an astonishingly good intuition for the best moves, and this is because they’ve trained their intuition by playing lots of similar games, and built up a sense of what works and what doesn’t.

However, gut decision-making is poor when it comes to working out things like how fast a business will grow, who will win a football match, and what grades a student will receive. Earlier, we also saw that our intuition is poor at working out what will make us happy. This is all because our untrained gut instinct makes lots of mistakes, and in these situations it’s hard to train it to do better.

Career decision-making is more like these examples than being a chess grandmaster. It’s hard to train our gut instinct when:

  1. The results of our decisions take a long time to arrive.
  2. We have few opportunities to practice.
  3. The situation keeps changing.

This is exactly the situation with career choices: we only make a couple of major career decisions in our life, it takes years to see the results, and the job market keeps changing.

This all means your gut can give you clues about the best career. It can tell you things like “I don’t trust this person” or “I’m not excited by this project”. But you can’t simply “go with your gut”.

Moneyball
In field after field, gut judgement is being replaced by approaches to predicting success that actually work. Moneyball tells the story of how data hungry analysts overturned traditional baseball talent scouting, which was based on gut feeling and untested metrics.

(See our evidence review for more detail. We also recommend the fantastic book, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.)

Why career tests also don’t work

Many career tests are built on “Holland types” or something similar. These tests classify you as one of six “Holland-types”, like “artistic” or “enterprising”. Then they recommend careers that match that type. However, we can see from the table that “Holland-type match” is very weakly correlated with performance. It’s also barely correlated with job satisfaction. So that’s why we don’t recommend traditional career tests.

What does work when finding out where you’ll excel? Trying things out.

In the table above, the tests that best predict performance are those that are closest to actually doing the work (with the interesting exception of IQ). This is probably what we should have expected.

A work sample test is simply doing some of the work, and having the results evaluated by someone experienced. Peer ratings measure what your peers think of your performance (and so can only be used for internal promotions). Job tryout procedures and job knowledge tests are what they sound like.

So if you’re choosing between several options, it’s helpful to do your research ahead of time. But eventually you need to actually try things. The closer you can get to actually doing the work, the better. For example, if you’re considering doing economics research, actually try some research and see how well you do, rather than just think about how much you enjoy studying it – studying a subject is very different from actually doing research.

This is true whether you’re at the start of your career or near the end, and whether you’re planning what to do long-term, comparing two offers, or considering quitting your job.

So, if there’s a job you’re interested in, see if there’s a way to try it out ahead of time. If you’re considering three long-term options and aren’t sure which to take, see if you can try out each of them over the coming years.

If you’re choosing which restaurant to eat at, the stakes aren’t high enough to warrant much research. But a career decision will influence decades of your life, so could easily be worth weeks or months of work.

In your early career, exploration is even more important

Early on you know relatively little about your strengths and options. Once you’ve spent a few years learning more, you’ll be able to make better decisions over the coming decades. It’s better to do this exploration early, if possible, so you can use the lessons later.

Also consider trying one or two wildcards to further broaden your experience. These are unusual options off the normal path, like living in a new country, pursuing an unusual side project or trying a sector you would have not normally have worked in (e.g. government, non-profits, social enterprise).

Many successful people did exactly that. Tony Blair worked as a rock music promoter before going into politics. As we saw, Condoleezza Rice was a classical musician before she entered politics, while Steve Jobs even spent a year in India on acid, and considered moving to Japan to become a zen monk. That’s some serious “exploration”.

Today, it’s widely accepted that many people will work in several sectors and roles across their lifetime. The typical 25 to 34-year-old changes jobs every three years,4 and changes are not uncommon later too.

Trying out lots of options can also help you avoid one of the biggest career mistakes: considering too few options. We’ve met lots of people who stumbled into paths like PhDs, medicine or law because they felt like the default at the time, but who, if they had considered more options, could easily have found something that fit them better. Pushing yourself to try out several areas will help you to avoid this mistake. Try to settle on a single goal too early, however, and you could miss a great option.

All this said, exploring can still be costly. Trying out a job can take several years, and changing job too often makes you look flaky. How can you explore, while keeping the costs low?

Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice was an accomplished classical musician before she transferred into politics. And even she can’t beat Steve Jobs for exploration – he seriously considered becoming a zen monk before going into technology.

How to narrow down your options

You can’t try everything, so before you explore, we need to cut your long-term options down to a shortlist. How best to narrow down? Since gut decision making is unreliable, it helps to be a little systematic.

Many people turn to pro and con lists, but these have some weaknesses. First, there’s no guarantee that the pros and cons that come to mind will be the most important aspects of the decision. Second, pro and con lists don’t force you to look for disconfirming evidence or generate more options, and these are some of the most powerful ways to make better decisions. It’s easy to use lists of pros and cons to rationalise what you already believe.

Here’s the process we recommend for narrowing down. It’s based on a literature review of decision making science and what has worked well in one-on-one advising. You can also use it when you need to compare options to shortlist, or compare your current job against alternatives.

1. Make a big list of options.

Write out your initial list, including both what problem you want to focus on and what role you want e.g. economics researcher focusing on global health; marketing for a meat substitutes company, earning to give as a software engineer.

Then force yourself to come up with more. You can find ideas in our previous articles. But here are some questions to help you think of more:

  1. If you couldn’t take any of the options on your first list, what would you do?
  2. If money were no object, what would you do?
  3. What do your friends advise?
  4. (If already with experience) how could you use your most valuable career capital?
  5. Can you combine your options to make the best of both worlds?
  6. Can you find any more opportunities through your connections?

2. Rank your options.

Start by making an initial guess of how they rank.

If you have more time, then score your options from one to five, based on:

  1. Impact
  2. Personal fit
  3. Supportive conditions for job satisfaction
  4. Any other factors that are important to you.
  5. Career capital, if you’re considering options for the next few years (rather than your long-term aims).

Here are some questions you can use to do the assessment, and a worksheet. Doing this ensures that you’re focusing on the most important factors.

Then, try to cut down to a shortlist. Eliminate the options that are worse on all factors than another (“dominated options”), and those that are very poor on one factor. You can add up all your scores to get a very rough ranking of options. If one of your results seems odd, try to understand why. For each option, ask “why might I be wrong?” and adjust your ranking. This is a very useful way to reduce bias.

3. Write out your key uncertainties

What information could most easily change your ranking? If you could get the answer to one question, which question would be most useful? Write these out. For instance, “Can I get a place on Teach for America?”, “Would I enjoy programming?” or “How pressing is global poverty compared to open science?”.

If you’re stuck, imagine you had to decide your career in just one weekend – what would you do in that time to make the right choice?

4. Do some initial research.

Can you quickly work out any of these key uncertainties? For instance, if you’re unsure whether you’d enjoy being a data scientist, can you go and talk to someone about what it’s like? Or is there something you could read, like one of our career reviews?

At this point, you might have a clear winner, in which case you can skip the next part. Most people, however, end up with a couple of alternatives that look pretty good. At that point, it’s time to explore. But how best to do that?

If you want a more detailed version of the process just above, try our decision tool:

There’s a lot more to say about how to make good decisions, some of which we cover in an upcoming article.

How to explore: cheap tests first

We often find people who want to try out economics, so they go and apply for a Master’s course. But that’s a huge investment. Instead, think about how you can learn more with the least possible effort: “cheap tests”.

The aim is to get as close as possible to actually doing the work, but with the smallest possible investment of time.

You can think of making a “ladder” of tests. For instance, if you’re interested in policy advising, here are the steps you might take:

  • Read our relevant career reviews and do some Google searches to learn the basics (1-2h).
  • Then the next most useful thing you can usually do is to speak to someone in the area. The right person can give you far more up-to-date and personalised information than what you’ll be able to find written down (2h).
  • Speak to three more people who work in the area and read one or two books (20h). You could also consider speaking to a careers adviser who specialises in this area. During this, also find out the most effective way for you to enter the area, given your background. Bear in mind that when you’re talking to these people, they are also informally interviewing you – see our advice on preparing for interviews in a later article.
  • Now look for a project that might take 1-4 weeks of work, like volunteering on a political campaign, or starting a blog on the policy area you want to focus on. If you’ve done the previous step, you’ll know what’s best.
  • Only now consider taking on a 2-24 month commitment, like a short work placement, internship or graduate study. At this point, being offered a trial position with an organisation for a couple of months can actually be an advantage, because it means both parties will make an effort to quickly assess your fit.

At each point, you’d re-evaluate whether policy advising was one of your most promising options, and only continue to the next step if it was.

How to explore: order your options well

You can gain more opportunities to explore if you put your options in the right order.

1. Explore before graduate study rather than after

In the couple of years right after you graduate, people give you license to try out something more unusual – for example starting a business, living abroad or working at a non-profit. You’re not expected to have your career figured out right away.

If it doesn’t go well, you can use the “graduate school reset”: do a Masters, MBA, law degree, or PhD, then return to the traditional path.

We see lots of people rushing into graduate school or other conventional options right after they graduate, missing one of their best opportunities to explore.

In particular, it’s worth exploring before a PhD rather than after. At the end of a PhD it’s hard to leave academia. This is because going from a PhD to a post-doc, and then into a permanent academic position is very competitive, and it’s very unlikely you’ll succeed if you don’t focus 100% on research. So, if you’re unsure about academia, try out alternatives before your PhD if possible.

2. Put “reversible” options first

For instance, it’s easier to go from a position in business to a non-profit job than vice versa, so if you’re unsure between the two, take the business position first.

3. Choose options that let you experiment

An alternative approach is to take a job that lets you try out several areas by:

  • Letting you work in a variety of industries. Freelance and consulting positions are especially good.
  • Letting you practice many different skills. Jobs in small companies are often especially good on this front.
  • Giving you the free time and energy to explore other things outside of work.

4. Try on the side

If you’re already in a job, think of ways to try out a new option on the side. Could you do a short but relevant project in your spare time, or in your existing job? At the very least, speak to lots of people in the job.

If you’re a student, try to do as many internships and summer projects as possible. Your university holidays are one of the best opportunities in your life to explore.

5. Keep building flexible career capital

If you’re unsure, keep building flexible career capital. That way, no matter how things turn out, you’ll still be in a better position in the future.

Jess – a case study in exploring

“80,000 Hours has nothing short of revolutionised the way I think about my career.”
Jess portrait photo

When Jess graduated from maths and philosophy a couple of years ago, she was interested in academia and leaned towards studying philosophy of mind, but was concerned that it would have little impact.

So the year after she graduated, she spent several months working in finance. She didn’t think she’d enjoy it, and she turned out to be right, so she felt confident eliminating that option. She also spent several months working in non-profits, and reading about different research areas.

Most importantly, she spoke to loads of people, especially in the areas of academia she was most interested in. This eventually led to her being offered to study a PhD in psychology, focused on how to improve decision-making by policy makers.

During her PhD, she did an internship at a leading evidence-based policy think tank, and started writing about psychology for an online newspaper. This meant that she was exploring the ‘public intellectual’ side of being an academic, and the option of going into policy.

At the end of her PhD, she can either continue in academia, or switch into policy or writing. She could also probably go back to finance or the non-profit sector. Most importantly, she’ll have a far better idea of which options are best.

Apply this to your own career: how to explore

  1. Use the narrowing down process above to cut your options down to a shortlist of three to five.
  2. For each option in your shortlist, write out one or two cheap tests that you could do over the next three months.
  3. Then, if you wanted to try out your remaining top options, what would the best order be? Consider just spending several years trying out different areas.
  4. When you need to make your final decision, you can use the narrowing down process again.
  5. If you’d like to find out more about how to make good decisions and predictions, we recommend Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath, and Superforecasting by Philip Tetlock.

Conclusion

We like to imagine we can work out what we’re good at through reflection, in a flash of insight. But that’s not how it works.

By

financecurrent

What Do You Do? Why Your Identity Should Be More Than Your Day Job

1

Imagine that you’re meeting someone for the very first time. Perhaps you’re reaching for the same appetizer at a dinner party. Or maybe you’re seated next to each other on an airplane.

After a little bit of polite chit chat about the charcuterie board or the lack of legroom in your non-exit row, the inevitable question pops up: So, what do you do?

We’ve all answered it, and we’ve all asked it. It’s one of the most oft-repeated conversation starters, and for good reason. Our careers make up a major part of our lives, and this question is a seemingly straightforward way to get a grasp on what makes someone who they are.

But, is it really?

Do You Work To Live, Or Live To Work?

While asking what someone does for a living has become as natural as shaking hands or asking, “How are you?,” is it truly the best way to start an interaction with a stranger?

Or, is it just adding pressure to define ourselves solely by how we earn a paycheck—in a world where our jobs are already bleeding beyond normal working hours?

It seems like the latter might be the case, especially for the younger generations of the workforce. In a survey of more than 2,000 millennials by the Illinois psychiatric center, Yellowbrick, 70% of respondents agreed that they identify themselves only through their jobs.

Some skeptics might think, “Hey, what’s so wrong with that?” You invest a lot of energy and effort into your career, and if you’re beaming with pride about how you make your living, what’s the problem with leaning on that as a concise summary of who you are?

These professional definitions do wonders for your LinkedIn profile, but may be damaging your self-identity.

More Than Just A Job: The Dangers Of Defining Yourself By Your Career

In all honesty, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being proud of your career choices. But, as it turns out, using only your profession as the core of your identity does present some potential risks and pitfalls.

1. It Pigeonholes You Into One Identity

When I was in my freshman year of college, I had an experience that really stuck with me.

I began my education as a musical theatre major. Up to that point, performing was all I had ever done—I never played soccer, joined student council, or written for the school newspaper. I was the girl who did theatre. It defined who I was for as long as I could remember.

After making it through one semester of the musical theatre program, I started to realize that maybe that wasn’t what I wanted to do for a long-term career. The thought alone was terrifying. I vividly remember lamenting to my mom on the phone. “Mom, if I don’t perform anymore, what do I have left? Who am I?”

I found myself trapped in a full-blown identity crisis—all because I dared to think about trying something new.

office-space gif

Maybe you won’t be quite as melodramatic as I was (ahem, there was a reason I was in theatre), but I think a really similar dilemma can hit you in regards to your career.

What if things aren’t going well at work? What if you’re laid off? What if your company shuts down? What if you’re itching to make a change and want to shift to an entirely new position or industry? Then what? You’re left without an identity entirely? That hardly seems fair.

It’s also worth noting that your profession might be a big piece of your life, but it doesn’t make up the entirety of it. Continuously relying on our careers to summarize who we are means we end up robbing people of other interesting pieces of identities.

Just look at Kristen Bell as a celebrity example. She’s a well-known and accomplished actress. But, she’s also a passionate animal rights advocate and the co-founder of a line of eco-friendly baby products. Only describing herself as an “actress” time and time again barely scratches the surface on what makes her who she is.

      

After all, you might be one heck of an amazing software developer. But maybe you’re also a dog owner, a marathon runner, a dedicated conservationist, and an amateur photographer.

Simply pointing to your career (and only your career!) as a definition of who you are pins you into one category, and then fails to complete the picture.

2. It Doesn’t Leave As Much Room For Connection

A team member at Trello recently attended a dinner party where everyone was required to introduce themselves without mentioning what they do for work.

Sounds tough and even somewhat awkward, right? But the results were impressive.

This team member mentioned that the challenge opened up genuine conversations, as well as an opportunity for real connection over shared hobbies, passions, and experiences.

Without relying on that age-old conversation starter, people were able to bond over topics that probably never would’ve bubbled to the surface had they stopped at, “I’m a financial advisor!” and “Oh, cool. I’m a customer care representative!”

That’s another benefit of defining an identity outside of your career.

It forces you to think outside of your day job and pinpoint other ways you can describe what makes you who you are—and doing so gives you chances to connect with other people who might not know anything about your chosen profession.

Expanding your horizons (and your network!) outside of people who already seem familiar on some level can lead to numerous benefits for you, too—especially when it comes to evolving your own perspective and forging beneficial new bonds.

Just look at this study that was done at Harvard University, where incoming freshmen are assigned their roommates. As a result of these seemingly random assignments, people from various backgrounds, ethnicities, races, and more are put together to live together for the academic year. Tanya Menon, one of the study’s co-authors, explains:

“Some students might be initially uncomfortable, but the amazing thing is, by the end of the year, many of them choose to keep living with their roommates, showing that these random connections between diverse people can result in positive relationships”

3. It Can Lead To Burnout

If something is going to be your source of identity, you understandably want to be phenomenal at it, right? Just think: You’d probably be less likely to tout that you’re a digital marketing analyst to a room full of people if you’re constantly late to the office, barely meet minimum expectations, and are practically on the verge of getting fired.

Don’t get me wrong—wanting to knock your job responsibilities out of the park is positive and admirable. But, doing so just to affirm your identity can be a slippery slope.

Needing to invest so much into your day job means that your career can quickly overtake your other interests, and add increased pressure to be switched into “work mode” at all times (even during evenings, weekends, and vacations!). And, unfortunately, that’s becoming a pervasive problem for most of us.

One 2016 study found that participants spend an average of eight hours each week dealing with email when they’re off the clock. A separate Gallup study found that 23% of the 7,500 employees surveyed report feeling burned out at work very often or always. Another 44% say they feel burned out sometimes.

burnout cat
When your job is your primary source of identity, it’s easy to feel guilt-ridden about investing time and energy into anything else that doesn’t ultimately serve your career progression—as if your hobbies and passions deserve way less importance and emphasis.

That’s a dangerous precedent to set, especially when you need interests outside of the office in order to recharge and lead a balanced life.

So… How Can You Help Change The Conversation? 

Here’s the thing: We’ll probably never do away with the “what do you do?” question entirely. It’s ingrained in Western culture and—let’s call it like we see it—your career really does make up a big part of your life (nobody is saying you need to kick it to the curb entirely!).

However, I do think we could all benefit by challenging ourselves to forge identities outside of just how we earn a paycheck.

Fortunately, this is something that you can take action on ASAP—and doing so is actually pretty easy. The next time you’re meeting someone for the first time (whether you’re at a dinner party or trapped in the close quarters of an airplane seat), try to avoid immediately asking a question about their profession, and instead opt for something more open-ended and less career-focused like:

  • How do you like to spend your free time?
  • What’s something recent you’re really proud of?
  • Do you have anything planned for this weekend?

You might just be surprised by the authentic and interesting conversations that blossom from there. Because after all, our careers might be an easy representation of what we do, but they certainly don’t tell the whole story of who we are.

By: Kat Boogaard

Source: https://blog.trello.com

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