By: Mari-Kathryn Arnold, Ed.D.
Have you ever worked for a big company or corporation and felt as if you were just a number or a warm body filling the seat? These situations can make us feel unvalued or unwanted and can create a negative and unsupportive work environment. Although this can cause a decrease in employee performance and productivity and become a point of concern to a company, to many of these large organizations it is not as important to them as it is to you, the working professional. Knowing how to identify your career value is important so that you can take the appropriate next steps to successfully grow and advance your career.
In order to identify your career value and worth it is important that you first focus on self-awareness. Self-awareness helps you to identify your strengths and abilities as well as your flaws and weaknesses. Your strengths and weaknesses will help you to visualize how you function as an individual and a professional. When viewing your strengths, you will find that these areas will help you to build your confidence and enthusiasm. Despite that you may not need to necessarily focus on improving your strengths, they remain a critical component of self-awareness. When viewing weaknesses, however, it is also important to recognize that you need to focus on identifying ways to improve these areas. The focus on improving our weaknesses is typically not paired with an immediate return of confidence and enthusiasm, in fact, focusing on our weaknesses often has the adverse effects and can decrease these feelings. This negative result often makes us stray away from identifying ways to improve upon our faults. Although it may be a knee-jerk reaction to avoid improving our weaknesses, when we invest the time and resources in these areas, we are able to demonstrate to ourselves and others our resilience and ability to grow, therefore identifying our career value and worth.
On paper, becoming self-aware in order to identify our career value and worth sounds easy, but to many individuals, this is a challenging concept. Being able to see ourselves through an honest lens can bring pain and sadness. As humans, we tend to recognize that the truth is not always something that is positive. If we begin to truly see ourselves, we may not be satisfied with our discoveries and we may not feel as if we are able to make the necessary changes. Regardless of the rationale for avoiding practicing self-awareness, without it, we are not able to determine our career value and worth.
Becoming self-aware involves more than simply understanding strengths and weaknesses. Although strengths and weaknesses may be some of the most obvious drivers for you to help identify your career value and worth, you also need to understand your motivators, preferences, habits, and likes and dislikes. By feeling knowledgeable about yourself in a variety of areas, you are able to identify your career value and worth in specific situations as well as within the overarching organization. Try asking yourself questions regarding a recent move or change that your company implemented.
Was it handled in an appropriate manner? How was it perceived by others? What would you do differently? How would you stand out from the crowd if you were in charge of it?
Answering these questions can help you to identify your career value and worth. If you are currently employed in an organization that does not suit your style and your needs for success, you are now able to use these preferences as ammunition when searching for your new position or next role, helping you to identify a position that fits your career value and worth.