Executive Search Consultants (or headhunters or recruiters – as we are also known) spend their days dialoguing with people (prospective candidates for hire) who represent prospective solutions to client problems. These conversations give us rich insight into companies, the people who lead them, and how they react to and resolve problems. While each search consultant has their own litany of observations from these conversations, this blog post is the culmination of observations from some of our consultant’s conversations with leaders about career satisfaction and attainment of personal and professional goals.
We commonly observe what we term as “passive talent” (those candidates that are not actively seeking a new job or role, also known as candidates that are so buried in excellence that they have no time or interest in looking for a new job) that express varying degrees of dissatisfaction with the direction their career has taken them. Oftentimes, such candidates seem to possess shockingly little mental clarity over which aspects of their career achievements can be tied to things they control such as experience attained, competencies developed and appropriately leveraged and which aspects are a result of things that in some cases are beyond their control, such as the people they lead, their employers, their subordinates and challenges unique to their environment. Gaining understanding of these aspects is critical to gaining the self awareness to begin the process of getting what you want. After all, we are speaking about the portion of our lives that we dedicate to work which is of course deserving of introspection. Gaining happiness and satisfaction in your working life is critical to finding balance in your overall life.
Popular speaker and facilitator of negotiation seminars – Chester L. Karrass’s advertisements feature the quote “In business as in life, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” Negotiating with others or your own conflicting wants or needs can indeed be a challenge. Life and happen chance don’t provide us with the opportunity to negotiate everything, however possessing a clear understanding of what our strengths, weaknesses and the environments we work within (industries, markets, organizational culture, economic conditions, etc.) will go a long way towards helping the dissatisfied with reaching satisfaction or just accepting the status quo and complaining to others about it… If you haven’t done so already, maybe you should start the process of getting clarity around what your value proposition is for your employer and then get clarity around what you want out of your career and life.
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