Climbing the career ladder in today’s competitive climate is challenging to say the least. With more young professionals joining the ascent every year the ladder has morphed into a climbing frame, wrought with different paths and players.
With so many variables to consider, the stresses and pressures resting on the shoulders of thousands of millennials are preventing many of these people from achieving the success they seek and leading to career burnout.
‘Become the person you’ve always dreamed of being’ is the sub-title for the exciting new book from leading business psychologist Susan Scott, titled How To Have An Outstanding Career.
The self-help book, which soared to Amazon’s bestselling list for psychology, was published by Croydon’s Filament Publishing Ltd and is aimed at young professionals just starting their careers who may be struggling with stress and self-awareness.
Speaking exclusively to Eastlondonlines, Susan spoke about how she came to write the book and how her experiences as a young professional shaped her career.
“I never wanted to write a book,” confessed Susan. “It was a friend who told me I absolutely had to write it. We used to talk about what would go on in the workplace, the way people are struggling, particularly with stress and managing all the pressures and demands. He said I absolutely had to write it.
“When I first started as a young professional, I climbed the ladder quite quickly. I was very ambitious and very driven but I used to struggle with my managers. I felt they didn’t give me enough work to do and they didn’t give me enough independence. Some of them were quite tricky people to deal with. It became quite a problem in the end and about five years into my career I gave it up.
“I thought maybe I’ve made the completely wrong decision. I’ve often since that day thought what decisions I made, were they right or were they catastrophic? Could things have been different? I just wish there had been someone who could have advised me and I feel the book is a way that I feel I can help that generation of people who are just starting out.”
Susan’s intuitive drive to work with people to help them overcome the obstacles in their lives is a passion that has burned across decades and with the dawn of the digital age, a new set of issues has arisen for those just starting their careers.
“I’m running workshops all the time with people and I hear them say that they’re struggling with the tasks. The digital age means that everyone goes home, has a bit to eat, fires up the laptop and starts working again. They work Sunday afternoons as well and what I think is happening is that people are getting stuck with chronic stress. They’re always on duty, always working.
“Everything has to be done instantly, it’s very short term and organisations are global now. Trying to get people to switch off their phones during a workshop is tricky because people will say ‘No, no, no! I’m waiting for something really important’ and they can’t even for a couple of hours switch off.”
A grounded sense of purpose is one of the key benefits to having a high-pressure career – achieving and setting goals is an important aspect of development both in life and in your job. However, this risk of being defined by your career can lead to never switching off from work.
“Now the really sad thing is when people get locked into always being on, can’t switch off they just have to keep doing, doing, doing, what they’re losing is their sense of purpose.”
Susan works from a unique perspective and has catered her book around a dual approach looking at both psychological and physiological aspects of her clients’ lives.
“I will approach things from a mind/body perspective. I will look at things like your diet and your lifestyle but also from a psychological perspective of how you’re thinking; are you a perfectionist? Do you find it hard to say no? Have you got that internal chatter that’s going on in your head that’s telling you that you haven’t done something very well and that you’re not good enough?”
The book, which is 190 pages, is filled with flexible tips and advice catered to everybody, exemplifying Susan’s ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ approach. She has also added questionnaires to the book for readers to get to grips with their career resistance and their career capital.
“Using the questionnaires, you can see which aspects that you need to put more emphasis on. From the questionnaire, you derive a career resistance model which is divided into two aspects – what you think and what you do. What we think is considering self-awareness, how well do you know yourself, what are your strengths, what are things you don’t do so well, have you got any fatal flaws?
“Likewise in what you do; do you know your, what I call, career capital, which is basically your career bank account. Everything you’ve got, all your experiences to your aspirations and your awards, your accolades, your strengths, everything that’s in there.
“From that do you know what it is and what it’s worth? Because if you don’t know what it’s worth, how can you hope to know where you want to go with your career and what’s going to be the next right move for you.”
Creating your own brand is crucial in today’s market as jobs become more and more competitive. Susan describes how key self-awareness and self-worth are to getting the job you desire.
“I don’t think young professionals stop and consider who they are and what makes them so special and unique. Why am I absolutely right for this company? It creates almost your elevator pitch. If you have a few sentences that capture your passion, your uniqueness what do you have that makes you so special that this company must have you? And that’s your brand”