Career Creativity

April 26th, 2012

Daily in my work with clients I see success, cynicism, stress, disappointment and renewal. Whether  clients are sidelined or resilient in the face of challenges often rests in their ability to career creatively.

In his opinion piece on April 23rd, David Brooks writes about Peter Theil, who having competed within the traditional structure (top college, top law school, application to clerk for Supreme Court), redirected to white space in place of the traditional success structure by founding Pay Pal. Mr. Brooks goes on to posit that competition to be just a little better kills creativity to be unique and monopolize something new.

If you are limiting your career management to competing for the next box in an organization chart, job openings on line or through contacts or recruiters, or if you are focused on what you “should do” professionally….perhaps it is time to open your eyes and minds to where the obvious opportunities are not.

Imagine having a unique position in the world of work; one that takes you out of the competition race and puts you in the running for contributing something of unique value based on the current and future unmet needs in your field, your function, your organization or solo.

If you are tired of the gerbil wheel, the career ladder, and the up or out mentality, take a step back and think broadly and deeply about:

What do you do…or how do you do it…. that no one else does?
How can you bring together your various experiences and skills in a new way?
Where are the unmet needs in your field, community, organization, where you want to be?
Who else is doing interesting things?
Where and how would you kill to work?
What legacy do you want to leave?
What are the vacuums that cry out to be filled?

Check list for crafting your career:

• Focus on your niche think rather than competitive edge when assessing your work life, selecting assignments, considering your options.
• Get feedback: ask others what they observe that makes you unique based on successful or creative contributions you have made in your field, in avocations or volunteer activities.
• Listen carefully to feedback and what others appreciate about you.
• Take stock and take control.

Transcend the competition….be unique

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