Career Compass

Career Compass

by Brian Dannatt (2009)


When looking to see how we fit within our current role, a future role or when assisting others to do the same some form of guiding principle is worth considering.


When people are not satisfied and wondering where to go next, the tendency is to look outwards and try to find an existing role or occupation and then wonder if it would suit us. The problem here is that we are looking in the wrong direction. We need to look internally not externally. Discover who we are and what needs we possess.


The Career Compass helps us to evaluate ourselves and our fit with any role. It is a model with three dimensions. (1) Aptitude, (2) Personality and (3) Motivation


On each dimension, make a list for yourself. So, your aptitude maybe figures, selling, interpersonal skills or working with your hands. What is your personality? Are you introvert, extravert, fast paced (like to do lots at once) or more reflexive. What motivates you? And by this I mean what are you passionate about. This is often the most difficult for people to discover. Many people are in jobs by default and a long time ago stopped feeling what they were passionate about!


Once you have your profile (which in itself is thought provoking through the reflexive practice required to complete it) you can use it as a compass. If a role matches you on all three dimensions you are likely to be both happy and successful.


Now that you have your personal profile you can construct a profile for any role you are considering or your current one.


As an example let us imagine I want an accountant. I probably want someone with an aptitude for figures and detail. A personality that is happy to work alone much of the time behind a PC screen and someone who derives motivational satisfaction from seeing the books balance exactly at the end of the month.


If you overlay your personal profile with the role profile this will help you evaluate how closely matched you are. Sometimes this reveals that a slight adjustment is needed in one dimension only. Although no job is so tightly defined that we cannot adjust it a little to suit us and it is rare that any individual is so inflexible not to cope with a little mismatch, the greater the mismatch the greater the likelihood of stress and the more likely the person will not be happy or performing to their full potential.

Have a go and see how you get on.



Brian Dannatt MIC