Six Factors that Shape Your Career – Part 3

In the following blog series based on career advice, we will be exploring the six factors that can help you shape your career. In Part 1 we looked at the first two factors – Being good with people and doing your job well. In Part 2 we took a closer look at Being good at communication and Remembering the little things, two vitally important concepts to understand when navigating your career journey. In this post we learn how to be more conscious and present in the workplace as well as a final tool that will really help you on your way to success.

Factor five: Be conscious and present.

Around you at work is the place for you to learn the most about how to create a successful career. The same information that you will receive from career advice and career guidance practitioners can be obtained from paying attention to what is going on around you at work. Almost everything you need to know and understand to be successful in your career can be learned by being observant and paying attention to what is happening around you. The only requirement is that you have to be mentally present. 

Take a moment to think of all the meetings you attend in your career. Most people will go into the meeting, sit there, maybe say something or contribute in some way, maybe not, and when the meeting is done, they will leave again. If this is how you operate, you miss out on an amazing opportunity to learn. Are you observing what is being discussed or are you asleep? Are you making notes, or do you think that taking notes is a waste of time? What about the atmosphere in the meeting, can you sense it? What is creating the atmosphere or setting the tone for the meeting? You can make a game out of this and see who can be the most observant.

Increasing your awareness may be difficult at first, but as you practice this skill, it will get easier. Here is a little tool to help you. When you enter a room, look up at the ceiling for bulbs that are out, then look down at the floor to see if there are any papers lying around. It might not be practical to change lightbulbs every time you enter a room, and it might not be appropriate to look in the nooks and crannies of your neighbour’s house for pieces of paper. But this exercise teaches you to be observant and this becomes an important attribute in your career development.

Factor Six: Get a notebook

If you are not doing so already, start taking notes. Use your notebook to write a little every day. It can be as simple as something small that happened, a comment you or someone else gave or received, something interesting that was being said or something that you need to remember or check on. 

Try to pay attention to the communication that you observe around you at work, the disagreements you see and maybe a little note to yourself about something you can do differently. You can take notes with your phone or tablet, but this might be seen as rude or you could get distracted by something happening on the screen that causes you to lose your focus. I would strongly advise against taking notes on a computer with a keyboard that makes a sound as that disturbs everyone in the meeting. 

Did you know that bosses are impressed when they see people taking notes? When you take notes, you show in practice that you want to grasp things and understand them better. I have taken notes every single day throughout my whole career, and it has played such an important role for me in my career journey. You also need to be good at jotting things down, so you can gain knowledge every single day. So, go grab a notebook and start!

Topic: Communication Power