We’ve all heard “comparison is the thief of joy,” but isn’t that just because we’re comparing our weaknesses to someone else’s strengths? Imagine a world where our focus was ‘strengths first’. Yeah, I know, a simple thought but a difficult practice. Luckily today we’re talking about managing our strengths with Engineering Manager Tiffany Jachja.
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Y’all ever get years into a career only to realize you’re just following someone else’s path and you’re not happy with what you’re doing and every day is an emotional drain and you don’t know how you got there? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that’s actually a lot of us. We’re given a ladder and told we’re supposed to climb with no regard to our future or our happiness in the long run. Chasing money and titles aside (respect, go get that bag girl), the fastest way to bring happiness to your career is to do something you’re good at. It’s another one of those things that seems obvious but is deceptively difficult.
For starters, figure out your unique skills and talents. What do your coworkers always ask for your help on or what do you always seem to fly through when it should be taking you much longer? Most of our strengths follow us from childhood. I, personally, see one of my biggest strengths as my ability to be emotional. Despite being told this was a weakness for most of my life, I’ve recently decided to just lean into it. I’m able to bring empathy and understanding to situations, and I’m now seeing as an advantage in my career. I’ve shifted my focus, allowing myself to be happy and do things that play off my emotional strengths.
Not to be that guy rolling out of a smoky van saying, “Your weaknesses are actually your strengths mannn.” But being able to identify your weaknesses does help you. If you can identify exactly what isn’t working for you, just surround yourself with people who are good at the things you’re bad at. Great at seeing flaws in a project but not so great at constructively presenting those things? Find or build a team where you can work with someone to share your ideas in a way that doesn’t make it seem like you’re always being “that negative guy.”
So break out of your career autopilot, look around, and see if you’re actually happy and effectively leveraging your skills, not just doing what you went to school to do. There’s not a fun or exciting way to put this, but you have to figure out how much your job satisfaction and happiness are worth and take that number with you into the job market. There’s only so much money you can make and there’s only so many titles you can hold, but do you actually know what you want out of your career?
See just a super light conversation about managing your skills. No extensional crisis to see here.