It is essential to reflect on goals and aspirations when taking steps to establish yourself in a career. It is also vital to deeply examine potential employers.
The essential aspects of laying the foundation for a meaningful career were discussed by Emily Reed, director of development for the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at University of Oklahoma; Nick Kulik, major gift officer at the University of Toledo; Larry Raff, president and principal of Copley Raff, Inc.; and, Iska Wire, senior director of talent management and organizational development at Rice University.
They made their comments during a session titled “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” at the recent Association of Fundraising Professionals’ international conference in Boston.
The first step the group addressed is defining what a meaningful career means to you. Understanding from where one derives meaning and personal happiness helps to make a clearer path towards the ultimate end goal of any career. It is essential to know one’s own core values and the “must¬ haves” in any job.
The next major step one must address is evaluating your current position in and organization. It is understanding the skills one is building, along with looking for opportunities to advance in the current organization, potential mentors, or resources to pursue certifications or a master’s degree.
It is important to evaluate in similar manner when evaluating a potential employer. For example, you must think about whether the organization’s mission aligns with one’s personal mission and look into what the potential employer offers that current employer lacks. It is important to dive in and research the organization’s culture through your own personal network, technology, and in person.
Lastly, the interview process sheds light on the organization. For example, determine what data or information is accessible and if the interview feels like a conversation.
Using these skills, one can weigh the pros and cons of a current employer versus a potential employer based on what is the best fit personally and what is the best move professionally.