Designing your work

We’re currently driving through Europe. It’s great being Australian driving here because all the distances are so short. We were explaining to our friends in England why we decided to drive from Paris to Hanover in the north of Germany: the plane tickets were really expensive and it’s only a seven-hour drive. The concept of a drive being “only seven hours” was a bit foreign to them. And the crazy thing about this seven-hour drive is that it includes four countries – France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. We decided to stop a couple of nights in Belgium, and we’re staying with a good friend of ours, Sandrine, who also happens to be Belgium’s leading career transition coach. She was telling me something very interesting about her process. There are obviously a number of steps, but the first one is to work out what your ideal job looks like. And just this first step takes six three-hour sessions spread out over two months.

Isn’t that great? That part of the process is so important, it’s worth taking two months to get it right. And of course if you don’t get that part right, it doesn’t matter how well you do the rest.

Unfortunately most of us only ever think about what we really want to do with that level of rigour and detail when we lose our job and have to start from scratch (and even then, only if we are lucky enough to be working with someone like Sandrine).

Instead we are opportunity driven. We look at the jobs that are available, or that we think we could get, and go for those. Or in our business we sell the stuff that we know people will buy, rather than thinking about what we really want to be doing.

I don’t think we spend nearly enough time designing our work – painting a picture of what it would look like in an ideal world. One of the things I’ve done this year is decided how many days of paid delivery I want to do each month – and once I have that many sold, I won’t do any more. It’s part of designing my work how I want it to look, rather than simply responding to what opportunity there is.

Love to hear your thoughts – how are you designing your work? You can leave your thoughts below.