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Why Is It Important To Become Familiar With How We Work?

Written by: Britt-Mari Sykes, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Britt-Mari Sykes

Many of us will have several careers in our lifetime. This has become an accepted reality. Building a career life that includes navigating career change(s), now requires us to broaden our perspectives on skills and training. With more work experiences and expanding personal expertise that reflects these different work experiences, it is increasingly important to become more aware of "how" we work.

arge group of programmers working in a modern office of a software company.

Learning to describe and articulate "how" we work is a vital ingredient we need to add to our career tools and strategies.

The shifts taking place in the job market

The shifts taking place in the job market globally will continue to impact the relationship we have with work and career, the meaning work and career hold for us, and our preparation for work and careers, whether in terms of education, training, the acquisition of skills, or maintenance.

This is particularly the case for a current generation of young adults who are entering the workforce and thinking about career lives with different perspectives: having multiple careers, having different experiences of work, navigating career change(s), and the possibility of creating careers amidst disappearing professions, job loss, unemployment and/or underemployment.

So how can we navigate these realities while also preparing for, creating, and maintaining career lives for ourselves? Becoming more aware of “how” we work is one approach that helps us:

  • Better design our career lives with continuous self-reflection and perspective-taking.

  • Keep up to date on our evolving value, learning to describe it and articulate it to others.

  • Better manage the process of our careers over our lifetime.

Becoming more aware of “how” we work

Reflecting on and deepening our awareness of “how” we work is not easy. Many of the clients I have worked with have difficulty with it, regardless of their age or work experience.

We can often name the functional skills that we are required to learn, or have learned, to execute a specific job or task. As we gain more and more work and life experiences, we can often identify more personal or innate skills and talents.

But most of us have a much more difficult time describing the ways in which our experiences, our development, our perspectives, our values, our natural skills and capacities, and our learned skills shape and influence "how" we work.

Reflective practice to access the “how”

The practice of regularly reflecting on our different work experiences provides valuable information and keeps us connected to the process of our career lives, and “how” we engage and personalize the work we do.

Work holds different and very personal meanings for us. Work is often a place of self-expression, identity, fulfillment, and/or a means to an end. Work is a place of contribution and of learning. Within these different meanings, we are also continuously developing and personalizing "how" we work.

We do not simply apply learned skills and/or training to the work we do, we also bring:

  • Our natural or innate skills.

  • Our lived experiences and perspectives.

  • Our personal energy and motivation.

  • Our values.

  • A personal attitude and approach to work.

Experiential exercise

Gathering information and gaining clarity is useful throughout our career lives. Take a moment, reflect, and take notes on these 10 sample questions.

  • How do I approach my work: attitudes, perspectives, values, work ethic, commitment, motivation? Is there a common theme? Can I identify a unique approach or perspective I bring to my work or the work experiences I have had?

  • Can I name aspects of my work that really interest, motivate, and energize me? How do these personal interests influence the way I work? Can I describe it?

  • How do I contribute to my work environments? What does that contribution look like?

  • How do I engage and interact with my colleagues and fellow co-workers? What kind of colleague am I?

  • Can I identify some of my natural skills? Which of my natural skills are most predominant in the work I do or the work experiences I have had? How do these natural skills influence or interact with the specific role and responsibilities I have, I have held, and “how” I work?

  • How do I put my personal stamp on my work roles? Can I?

  • When I think about my natural skills AND my learned skills accumulatively, how would I describe the value I bring to my work environments?

  • Have other experiences in my life influenced and impacted “how” I work?

  • What have I learned from the jobs/roles I have had? What perspectives, opinions, and knowledge do I hold about a particular industry, business, or profession? Have these influenced “how” I work?

  • How have my skills and capacities developed, changed, or expanded throughout my career life? Has my personal approach to work, the responsibilities I have had, or the roles I have held changed? Has “how” I work changed?

Career Counselling can help at any stage of your career life. Start a career conversation. Contact us here for more information or to book a consultation.

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Britt-Mari Sykes Brainz Magazine

Britt-Mari Sykes, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Britt-Mari Sykes Ph.D. is a Career Counsellor and founder of CANVAS Career Counselling working remotely with clients across Canada. Britt-Mari offers a reflective and strategic process to clients, one that integrates their lived experiences, values, and aspirations. This experiential approach to career counselling helps clients gain greater clarity and perspective and design practical steps towards a more meaningful relationship with work and career.



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