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4 Ways To Decenter Your Career & Corporate Climbing

My Journey To Decenter My Career & 4 Ways You Can Too

Over the past year, there has been an important "Decenter Men" Movement online. This movement encourages women to focus on their own needs in their pursuit of love rather than feeling the need to change to fit male expectations and standards. It's all about reflecting on how societal expectations may influence women and how we can prioritize our own happiness and fulfillment.

As I prepare to head back to work after my two-week medical leave, I can't helpl but notice a striking parallel between women's pursuit of a partner and my own quest for success in my career and corporate climbin.

I have been career-driven since entering the workforce more than 10 years ago. Since then, much of my efforts and thoughts have been dedicated to my career and professional development, often sacrificing development and energy in other areas of my life.

With this in mind, I am starting my journey to 'Decenter My Career' by shifting the focus away from corporate climbing and career pressure in four specific ways.

Cultivate Purpose Outside of Career

The first and most important way to consciously practice decentering your career is to find and embrace your purpose outside of it. Identifying what gives your life meaning beyond your job will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and prioritize self-care, relationships, and hobbies.

Remember that you are not alone if you feel lost in discovering your purpose. There are many ways to discover your purpose or passion. One powerful method is to engage with your community. Volunteering, joining local groups, or adopting a new hobby can all provide a sense of connection and purpose.

Remember, while your career can contribute to your sense of purpose, it should not be the only source. By cultivating a life purpose encompassing all aspects of your life, you can have a more holistic sense of purpose beyond your job.

Find A Job Reflective Of Likes, Strengths, and Values

When pursuing the right career, it is essential to consider your likes, strengths, and values. Understanding these factors can help you identify roles that align with your personality and skill set, increasing the likelihood of personal satisfaction and success. When evaluating careers, consider the following:

For likes and dislikes, consider activities that excite you and those that you find taxing. For example, if you enjoy working with numbers and data analysis, a finance or data science career might be a good fit. In contrast, if you dislike high-pressure, fast-paced environments, a career in event management or sales may not be the best role.

For strengths and weaknesses, identifying your strengths—like communication skills, attention to detail, or creativity—can help guide you toward jobs where you can excel. Similarly, recognizing your weaknesses, such as difficulty with public speaking, allows you to seek positions where they are less critical. 

For values, ask yourself, “What matters most to you in a job?” Is it important for you to work for a company that values sustainability or community? Understanding your values can help you narrow down the types of companies and roles that will be a good fit for you.

Finding a job that genuinely aligns with your personality by assessing your likes, values, and strengths can be a game-changer for your overall happiness and success.

Evaluate The Why Behind Commitments

It is important to remember that overcommitting or overworking can signify misplaced energy tied to identity or trauma. For instance, someone might take on more responsibilities than they can handle to feel worthy. Constantly working and staying busy can also be a way of avoiding complex emotions or dealing with the past.

We all have different priorities, such as professional success, family life, or financial stability. However, if we take a step back and evaluate our daily actions, we may realize a mismatch between what we value most and how we actually spend our time and effort. To prevent over-commitment, assessing what truly matters to you is helpful. You can do this by completing a Commitment Inventory. This exercise allows you to verify whether you are aligning your commitments with what matters the most and how you allocate your time and energy.

Be Selective With New Projects

Lastly, be selective with new projects or additional work you accept.

When committing to taking on extra work or projects, the likelihood of burnout and overworking increases. Before raising your hand for extra projects, consider the following:

  1. Your capacity to take on the additional workload

  2. Opportunity to learn new skills and extend or explore personal interests. 

  3. Chance of networking and collaborating

Being selective in where you spend your time and energy helps you become engaged with the things that matter most and ensures a well-rounded and fulfilling life.

In conclusion, by evaluating our commitments, cultivating a purpose outside of our careers, and pursuing a career that reflects our likes, dislikes, and values, we can successfully decenter our careers and shift our efforts to other equally or more important aspects of our lives.

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