What's important to you


By Sally Longson

When we live your life at a fast pace, it's hard to halt and think about what's important to us. But a clear knowledge of our own values can make the difference between having a job and life we enjoy; and putting up with second best, wasting energy fretting about it. If you're finding that the years are shooting by, and you feel like your career and life are stagnating and you're not in control of them, then it's time for you to take stock. Get off the world for a few days; let it revolve around rapidly without you - it will be in much the same state when you get back - and review what's important to you.

People want different things in life. A great job means one thing to one person, something different to another. The great thing about PA work is that if you want a job with all the responsibility and trimmings, you can have it. Equally, it's not essential. The more you become involved in an organisation, the more likely you are to be willing to stay those extra hours. Employers cleverly choose people carefully partly because they 'fit' well into the company - they will get along well with everybody else. They need to ensure there's a good team balance, so personality is important to guarantee a good 'fit'. And people are less likely to want to spend time away from the team.

So ask yourself:

  • How hungry are you to make a difference to and contribute to an organisation as a whole? How do you want to make that difference?
  • What do you understand by 'the top of the career ladder'? How hungry are you to reach it? Are you committed enough to do what it takes to get there?
  • Are you seeking to use PA work as an entry into a career in something such as the media or public relations; or using it in its own right?

Much depends on how you view success and why you work.

What does success mean to you?

Let's consider what you mean by success. It will help you gain a deeper understanding of what's important to you.

  • Identify three role models you have.
  • What makes you chose them?
  • What makes you consider them to be successful?
  • How far would you like to emulate that success?
  • How did they get to where they wanted to be?

These people can be amazingly close to home. 'My mother is very successful - she brought up three kids single handed after my father died and we've all done very well'; 'my daughter' they don't have to be famous, or rich. If you meet someone who is in their ideal job and niche, ask them how they did it. Study people's careers to see how they got to where are.

Everybody has their own idea of success. If you ask two friends what they think, you could have a lengthy discussion about the definition of it, surrounding your own thoughts and values.

  • Rank the following in importance for you:
  • Career
    Personal growth
    Material goods
    Home / Garden
  • How much time do you want to spend on the top five most important things each week?
  • How much time do you need to spend on each one right now?
  • How would you like this to change in the next five years?
  • What do you need to do to achieve this change?
  • Which is more important to you: success or happiness? What does each mean to you?

Think too about your life overall in terms of where your career and the lifestyle you want, fit together. We may be happy working every hour given to us. And then something happens in our personal life, and we want to spend less time at work - an illness in the family, the break-up of a personal relationship?or we suddenly we want to give our career a boost. "I want to get this qualification, so I'm going to take a year out and study for it full time." Or we want to invest time in our both career and current job. "I want to spend more energy and time getting this move up the corporate ladder really licked. It's a long term goal, will take me three years, and I'm prepared to put everything else on hold until I make it." These feelings may change as our circumstances change. The key is to be aware of that and move with the times.

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