Join Us on Facebook Join Us on Facebook!

Article of the Month

Send email to a friend
Send Email to a Friend
The Fifteen Minute Career Drill
by Caela Farren, Ph.D., MasteryWorks, Inc.

So you say "...Who on God's green earth has the time to devote to career building?" The answer is YOU and All you need is FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY. No Excuses.Introduction
We would all like to have great careers to make the world a better place while satisfying our needs and dreams. We all want to be working on something that excites and challenges us. Something we care about. We want work to provide the things that are important to us.

Work and career involve two different concepts. Work is the day-to-day effort in your profession or occupation while career is the total progression of your professional life. A career can include many different jobs and types of work over the years. Like most everything else, great careers don’t just happen. They don’t fall out of the sky so that you suddenly find yourself in a position of mastery - on the top floor in the corner office of your profession or trade. Whether you are a vascular surgeon, a Porsche certified mechanic, a customer service rep or running a business, a great career evolves, takes shape, matures and succeeds through intentional career planning and development techniques.

Are You In the Right Place?
The very first question you might ask yourself is “Am I in the right place?” Let’s examine the Holstee Company’s Manifesto once again. What powerful message does the manifesto contain that attracted over a million viewers? Why have the words of this New York clothing manufacturer caught the eye of so many? Perhaps it’s because it gets directly to the heart of whether you’re in the right profession, trade, career and organization. The Holstee Manifesto is a clarion call toward self-discovery of your most precious principles. Their Manifesto is a filter. It asks that we look to the truth about our inner selves, our dreams, our passions, and our spirits. It kindles our spark and these sparks are the bedrock of successful careers.

The text on the Holstee poster reads, “This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don't like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don't have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Stop over analyzing, life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people. We are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once, seize them. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.”

Living your dream is built on passion tied to training, knowledge, skill, talent and ability. These elements hold the keys that unlock the doors to a great career. They are the admission ticket to your great career. But once in the door, how do you go about developing your career to achieve and realize your dreams in this fast paced and incredibly competitive work place. Of course, managers and leaders can help develop careers. But more often than not, they are too busy to spend time with you outside of quarterly and annual reviews. Organizational culture, policies and practices can support your career growth. However, the bottom line is that it’s up to you to develop your own career. You are the master of your own destiny. Focus on your work but never forget to pay attention to developing your career.

The Fifteen Minute Daily Career Drill
So you say, “I am being pulled ten ways to Sunday trying to meet deadlines, solve problems and keep up with competition. Who on God’s green earth has the time to devote to career building?” The answer is YOU and All you need is FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY. No excuses. We all spend more than 15 minutes a day daydreaming, traveling back and forth to work, at a coffee break or waiting for our computers to fire up. First, spend 15 minutes daily critically examining your work.

Ask yourself:

  • How can I make my work more efficient?
  • What's the competition doing?
  • What's being innovated?
  • What direction should I be moving toward?
  • What do I need to learn or experience to achieve my goals?
  • What can I do to make an impact on our products and services?

Then, take a look beyond your immediate work and spend fifteen minutes a day, gathering helpful information, gaining essential knowledge, developing insight, gauging your direction and making the right connections.

  • Read a book, periodical, blog, ezine, etc., relevant to your work and career to gather information and gain knowledge, insight and direction of trends in your profession, trade, organization and industry. Relevant trends originate from a variety of places – customers, competitors, countries, organizations, think tanks, society, or technology. Any relevant trend can become your career platform and spark ideas for new products, services or inventions.
  • Learn something new every day. Spend time thinking, talking and writing about problems, challenges, trends, competition, innovation and whatever is important to you. Have quality discussions with others about topics important to you.
  • Build one positive relationship a day with people who appreciate your interest and passion. Make a diagram – people in your organization, people in your profession, your industry and your personal life. Follow, link to, or send requests to them. Then view their connections, groups, links, friends, followers and explore the possibilities.
  • Network. Review and add to your network on a daily basis. Change your social and business networks as your business goals change. Use your network for referrals. Ask for ideas on jobs that fit your dreams. Grow your networks through emails, reading blogs, interviews, web research, associations, and telephone contacts. Engage in conversations to sincerely help others with their projects and work. Give generously. Great networking is a two-way street. Make giving part of your daily routine and you’ll have plenty of people who give to you when you ask.
  • Prioritize. Draw up a list of your needs and concerns. What questions do you need answered? What problems do you need solved? What challenges are you facing? What do you need to learn? Who are the people in your network who can help you answer these questions?
  • Recognize trends. Be entrepreneurial and brainstorm trends toward new or improved products and services. If you get stuck, ask some people in your network. Entrepreneurs not only recognize trends but can anticipate specific new possibilities generated by those trends. New products, services, strategies create new jobs. Look to see where your organization is heading
  • Explore LinkedIn and other sites. Some organizations are ahead of yours in the new jobs and career opportunities they create. Get to know people doing similar work in other organizations through business networking sites. See the new skills and the new jobs your organization might need, but hasn’t yet created. Be in the know on what’s leading edge. Get yourself ready.
  • Create a new job. As strategies, products, services changes new jobs emerge. Be the first to spot a need and propose a new job to your manager or other managers to provide the expertise now needed for the changes. If you have built strong relationships with your manager and other key people, they will listen and probably let you experiment and pilot a new job.?
  • Connect with leaders in your field. See how they think. Find out what they are working on. It’s who you know and who knows you. Develop mentoring and mentor relationships. Build strong mentoring connections to clarify your strengths and gaps. Build relationships with others to get to know them well through honesty, listening and helping.
  • Build bridges to others. Share your values and passion. Hang out with people who stretch you and expect your best. Connect your passion with them and excite others. Bring your dreams to life. Lead by example.

Select any one of the topics and block out fifteen minutes a day until it becomes a habit and watch your career take off.

Great careers generally evolve, take shape, mature and succeed through career planning and development techniques. You may work more effectively and successfully by spending 15 minutes a day critically examining your work, looking at what the competition is doing, learning what’s being innovated, and the direction you should be moving toward. Look beyond your immediate work and spend fifteen minutes a day, gathering helpful information, gaining essential knowledge, developing insight, gauging your direction and making the right connections.

About the Author
Caela Farren, Ph. D.
, is Founder and President of MasteryWorks, Inc., - a leading Career Development consulting organization offering innovative solutions to large and mid-size companies, including Bayer, Baylor Health Care, Brown Forman, CapitalOne, Northrop Grumman, Reebok, Sprint, Sandia National Labs and Sodexo. MasteryWorks, Inc. provides enterprise web portals, training, consulting, e-Learning, and an assessment framework for employees and managers. For more than thirty-five years, Dr. Farren has been a passionate leader around complex issues redefining the workplace. She envisioned the current workplace climate fifteen years ago, when she published a cornerstone compendium on career development, “Who’s Running Your Career: Creating Stable Work in Unstable Times” (Bard Press, 1997). Through MasteryWorks, Inc., she oversees solutions that create the foundation for impact-filled “career conversations” - centered on increased contribution, performance, and fit. She is a leading authority of strategic approaches which consistently deliver employee engagement and retention goals for her clients.

For more information, contact Adam Alexander, Vice President, or call us at (703) 256-5712.

MasteryWorks, Inc.
2230 George C Marshall Drive, Suite 122 Falls Church, Virginia 22043 USA 800-229-5712