Meet The Career Optimizers

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At The Happy Mondays Co, we work with a vibrant mix of clients: Women and men from all walks of the professional world. They range in age, location, background, and most importantly, their personal definitions of success.

Some of our clients arrive with us after a big change like a relocation or maternity break. Others pick up the phone and call us after what seems like a subtle succession of tiny changes. Small moments of realisation about themselves, their work, and their lives that have nudged them gently down a path of change.

Recently we’ve been working with an increasing number of clients who share surprisingly similar characteristics... and even similar motivations:

Career optimizers have decided that it’s time to explore a question that their previous career development hasn’t given the space for, or even encouraged. They’re asking themselves, “what really matters to ME?”.

This group of clients is particularly interesting for us, as they are raising questions and creating opportunities for themselves that represent a much wider shift. They’re optimizing their lives, and a huge part of that is their careers. We’ve named them, The Optimizers.

As I share more about this group of clients, you might notice some of yourself here... We recognise much of ourselves too!

So, who are the Optimizers?

They are women in their late 20’s to late 30’s, who have often followed relatively traditional career paths; gaining ‘traditional’ success in the process. They earn a good salary by market standards, have a decent job title, and are pretty much in the place they’d hoped to be by the time they reached this stage of their lives. If they were to jump into a time machine and visit themselves 7 - 15 years back, then their fresh graduate selves would have highly approved of this peek into the future.

Yet, there’s something missing. The ‘success’ doesn’t feel how they imagined it would. Why? Because their very definition of success has changed.

Money, title and a certain level of prestige was what used to be of the utmost importance. It’s not surprising that these are the aspirations that so many of us developed early in our careers - we’ve been taught that they all equate to success, and our society and culture typically measure how well we’re doing based on them. From being approved for financial products or visas, to buying our first homes, to working the crowd at a party; everyone wants to directly or subtly assess whether we tick these boxes. Throughout our 20’s and early 30’s we often orient ourselves around ensuring that we do tick those boxes; in a bid to measure up against the internal and societal/cultural indicators that we’re doing OK, that we’re capable... and, at its core, that we’re worthy.  

We often presume (and I believe we’re led to expect) that once we get there, that’s it. We’re successful! In some ways it’s true; reaching a certain level of financial security is a success in itself. The thing is, the journey towards reaching these ‘success indicators’ doesn’t seem to leave much time for the Self.

Our Optimizers have reached a point where their inner Selves are calling out to be honoured and expressed alongside or within the work they are doing. This ‘calling’ may have started with quiet symptoms to begin with, like missed dinners with friends due to being stuck in the office, but it’s developed into something much louder over the years. A realisation that you’ve been intending to start that photography course but still haven’t had the time (for years!), an exciting trip you’ve wanted to take since you were 25, but now you’re 33 and it still hasn’t happened! Or, more challenging indicators like chronic stress or exhaustion, boredom or frustration at work, neglected relationships, or the unshakable sense that time is ticking and you can’t keep putting ‘happiness’ off until tomorrow.

An additional aspect for many of our Optimizer women is the time-related pressure associated with motherhood. This is the understanding that they want to have a child, yet the feeling that their current lifestyle, and certainly their work, isn’t quite what they wanted it to be before little people arrive into it!

As a result, you are questioning your openness to continue to compromise what’s important to you, often within workplace cultures that often expect this of you. There’s often a feeling of limited time and, by the time we meet many of our Optimizer clients, a huge surge of energy and enthusiasm is present. They’re focused on making the best of themselves, honouring that internal voice and making changes in both their personal and professional lives to ensure this happens. Those changes may look anything like starting a regular yoga practice to completing a course, to changing careers completely. Often, our optimizers are making a number of changes at once to truly ‘optimize’ their minds, bodies, souls, careers and wider lives. We’re honoured to be able to play a role in that, supporting them in key parts of the process. Including, creating a safe space to explore the core questions:

  1. Who am I?

  2. What am I great at?

  3. What are my values?

  4. How do I honour and express these in my career?

We also help them to work through a personalised framework of effective action, so that they can say "Ok, I have a better idea of what I want now… let’s go and get it!".

Optimizer women and men understand the Kaizen approach to continuous improvement, and they are already invested in the powerful action of making 1% changes to transform their lives.

Are you an Optimizer?

If so, some of these indicators might sound familiar!

  1. You’ve worked tirelessly, and made progress up the ladder since starting your career.

  2. You’re proud of your career to date, but you’d do things differently if you had a time machine!

  3. Your working life was oriented towards the previously mentioned 'success indicators', but that doesn’t feel right for you any more.

  4. You’ve worked crazy hours pretty regularly over the last 5+ years.

  5. You’ve missed social and family events because of work.

  6. You want to develop new skills or hobbies, but have kept putting it off as ‘it’s not been the right time’.

  7. You have a sense that in the right environment / job role you would be incredible, but you’re not exactly sure what it is.

  8. You’re committed to making changes to improve your mind, body and lifestyle, or you want to be!

  9. You notice new/different things started to matter to you once you reached your late 20’s; and now recognise how much you’ve changed!

  10. You’re less comfortable with compromising aspects of your identity, needs or values to adapt to the workplace.

  11. You’re curious about whether a workplace that ‘fits’ you exists.

  12. You’d really like to talk about all of the above, but feel limited in being able to express it - you’re not sure other people (aside from your optimizer friends) understand.

    If you’re looking for immediate advice, why not schedule a chat with one of our friendly team members? Click here, to book your first free session today!

 

sandra quelle