Regardless of whether you are looking to begin a job search or looking to start your own business, the first thing you should do is a serious self-assessment.
Listmaking, the devil is in the details.
When I was younger I was obsessed with lists, specifically, “best of” lists. Year-end brought a bounty of these lists and I’d revel in my good taste if the list matched my preferences and swear that the critic who didn’t agree with me was full of crap if they didn’t. I loved making lists of my own and comparing them to the “official” ones seeing where mine and theirs cross. I also loved navel-gazing, looking at my life critically and wondering what my place in the universe was but with that misty melancholy that comes with adolescence. Its annoyingly self-aware but great practice for putting yourself in the employment market, or more importantly, reestablishing your self-worth.
One of the best ways of knowing what you are suited for is to figure out what exactly you are good at. It’s not a miracle cure and it is just the first step on the journey to getting where you want to be, but there is a transformative feeling that washes over you when you see, on paper, your true worth. When you write out all that you do well and don’t limit the list to “marketable” skills, you will see a person, not a product. You will feel empowered, worthy and probably a little angry that your fate is being decided by someone who doesn’t know what your true worth is.
It may sound a little hokey but knowing your true worth as a person, skills, personality, habits, interests inclusive is truly transformational. Look at that list and try to add one thing a day to it. The items may be derivative, (I am a good listener, I am a people person, etc.) but as you begin to develop a culture of positivity within yourself, especially in the way you see yourself it changes your interactions with the world.
A word of caution here: What I’m talking about here isn’t ego, it isn’t self puffery or the care and feeding of narcissism. If you feel it going that way project those traits on others as well, The post office clerk who ignores you standing there as he goes about his work, he might just be distracted today because he had a fight with his partner, or his brother, mother or even cat. Being kinder to yourself by taking an assessment of your worth shouldn’t make others seem worth less to you. Recognizing the worth in yourself, especially if you are surrounded by people at work or even at home who don’t seem to see what you bring to the world, should also allow you to project that onto others.
So what does all this woo woo do for you?
Whether you are working in a dead-end job or in a high-level management position, making 12K or 200K a year, there is no guarantee you are being treated with basic human respect. The likelihood that the lack of respect and commiserate pay actually even out is much less at the low end, where exposure to the public and others who are under similar stressors stew in a hot soup of poverty, disrespect, and grease, than it is up higher but if you are miserable, you are still miserable. Misery, as they say, loves company, so in order to not be alone in our misery, we make others miserable as well.
We are turning each other into mean, angry, reactionary a**holes.
We think we are worthless because no one else believes in our worth because WE don’t believe our own worth.
The list is a way to reclaim our worth, and ourselves. It is also a way to step into the next part of the process. Designing your work around your life instead of doing the opposite.