Laurie Swanson Blog

You Can Do That Job... But Do You Want To?

I am currently working with a multi-passionate, multi-skilled woman who is on a job search.

She is ready to change.

She has her Career Change Toolkit (resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile etc.) at the ready.

But she is stuck.

She has covered a lot of ground in her career. She can manage teams and projects. She has worked with a variety of technology platforms in a variety of industries. She is comfortable both as an individual contributor as well as a leader. She interfaces regularly with the executive team and is good at developing talent.

Welcome to Career Choice Hell 

She thinks having all this varied experience will make the job search simple but she just feels confused.
  • That role follows a clear career trajectory for me but is that what I want?
  • This job sounds good because it takes advantage of my education but so what?
  • I have done everything they are asking for in this position so why aren’t I excited?
  • I know I will get an interview but is it worth my time?  
If searching for a job is not tough enough having to make decisions about what to apply for and what to let go of can be crazy making.

Bringing Back the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule was conceived by Vilfredo Pareto in 1906. He was an economist who created a mathematical formula that described the unequal distribution of wealth in Italy stating that 80% of the wealth was held by 20% of the people. It was later named Pareto’s Principal by Dr. Joseph Juran in the 1940’s and has been used to describe many things like the idea for retailers that 20% of their customers buy 80% of their products or, in software development, that if the solution solves 80% of the problem for a customer that is a win.

The 80/20 rule can be very helpful when making decisions. We all know that 100% perfection is hard to achieve so being able to be happy with 80% can often help us move forward.

Putting the 80/20 Rule to Work

Let's get started with this easy 3-step process by printing off a copy of a job description for a position that interests you.

Step One: Do the Can-Can

Circle all the duties, responsibilities and requirements that are listed that you CAN do.

Did you circle at least 80% of the possibilities? If you did then this is a job you CAN apply to and feel good knowing that you should be able to hit the ground running and make a contribution right away.

Step Two: But I don’t wanna!

Now take that same job description and cross off all the ones you circled that you CAN do but really do not want to do. Just because you can create an excel report does not mean you want to be doing that on a regular basis.

Why go after a job where you will be doing lots of things that you really don’t want to do? 

If you still have 80% or better circled and not crossed off then we are definitely in the right ballpark and should be applying.

Step Three: Hope IS a Strategy

Now, look at all the things you did not circle. Of the ones not circled, put stars by those things that, even though you cannot do them today with confidence, you would HOPE to be able to do them in the future.

Step One is about what you are bringing to the position, Step Two is making sure that you are considering a role that feels mainly like fun and Step Three is about what the company can offer you.

This is your learning edge. If there is nothing in the job description that you can’t already do then this role, though something you would be successful at, may not be able to keep you happy long term.

That does not mean you should not apply, it means that you need to be also asking questions about career development and career path to make sure you can continue to stay engaged past the first year on the job.

Also, walking away from a job that just isn't the right fit for you is ok.  Better to spend your time on opportunities that are going to make you happy in the long term.

Career Change Tip of the Week 

Simplify your job search with the 80/20 rule. Make sure that 80% of what the job has to offer is what you can AND want to do, along with things that you can’t do but want to learn. 

If you need some help sorting all this out, give me, Laurie Swanson,  a call at 630-260-7821 and schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

Sound Song Advice

The Can-Can

Performed by The Rockettes

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