Portions of this article originally appeared in NCDA's web magazine, Career Convergence. Copyright National Career Development Association, (February, 2008). Reprinted with permission. Readers are invited to enjoy Career Convergence by visiting the NCDA website to read articles, search the archives, sign up for a free subscription, and even submit an article! NCDA link to article.
"Be Happy While You're Living…..For You're A Long Time Dead!"
- - Scottish Proverb
Two growing client concerns are a quest for life work balance and for a sense of community.
Life work balance is the desired relationship between work and other life activities. It could be impacted by quality of life values, the degree of separation between one's work and other parts of life, how each supports the other and what each contributes to the holistic quality of life.
Community is a supportive association or group to which one belongs. It can be a literal place or a virtual one and take many forms.
Career practitioners can use a variety of methods, including the following, to help the client focus on life-work balance and community:
Interview questions to help clients focus might include asking them to consider whether they live to work or work to live. What do they need and want from work? How would they want to answer these questions versus how they experience their reality? How does their living environment support or detract from their work?
In a visualization or written exercise, ask how much time they spend each day commuting? How do they commute? Are they alone in their car, in a carpool, reading on public transportation, bicycling or walking to work? Are they able to work part time from a home office each week? Do they feel isolated while working at home? Is there a social network in their home community? Are others available to pick up a child from school or nurse a sick pet or check on grandma once a day? Are they part of a collaborative community with support systems?
Consider alternative solutions and open their eyes to possibilities that could alter the balance between work life and personal life with the assistance of community. Brainstorm the following options with clients:
Exercises to assist your clients should be varied to appeal to diversity of needs.
1. Visualization of their ideal live/work environment and desired life work relationship
2. Values clarification involving identifying needs and wants around why they work and what they need and want from it. Special emphasis should be placed on their need for balance and for community, if any.
3. Recall all communities they have experienced in their life and review the pros and cons as they remember them. Could be school, clubs, church, teams, neighborhoods, associations, circle of friends, support groups and virtual groups.
4. What is one thing they can do today to help make their vision a reality? Write it down along with a completion time.
I invite you to test out some of the questions and exercises with your clients. As career counselors, we listen to tough life issues expressed across all working generations. There may never be a better time to seek out the 21st century version of "community" to meet the growing and diverse needs of a workforce hungry for some degree of balance in their life.
Official Guide to the City of Oakland Live/Work Building Code: Live/Work in Plain English. Retrieved 1/22/08 : www.live-work.com/plainenglish-ws
Co-housing information: http://www.cohousing.org/
Eugene Muscat, Ed.D., has served in a variety of positions at the University of San Francisco’s McClaren School of Business – Senior Associate Dean, External Affairs; Founding Director of the Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Foundation Family Business Center; Lead Professor, Online Courses; Professor, Information Systems; and Faculty, Executive Program. He has also served as a Visiting Professor at the Estonia Business School. He earned an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership, an MBA in Management, a Credential in Administration, and a B.S. in Business Administration.
Dr. Muscat’s professional honors and awards include the following: Alpha Sigma Nu, Jesuit National Honor Society; Beta Gamma Sigma, National Business Honor Society; Student Teach of the Year, USF; Education Alumni Board Director, USF; Service Award, USF Alumni Association 1986; and Faculty Service Award, USF Business School; Technology Innovation Award, USF.
His significant publications include the following: “Impact of a Life-Changing Event on the Family Business,” Efendioglu, A. and Muscat, E. Western Decision Sciences Institute, San Diego, March 2008; “When Cultures Collide: How Family Business Interfaces with E-Business”, McCann, G. and Muscat, E., International Academy of E-Business, San Francisco, March 2008; “ The Role of Strategic Planning In the Connected Economy – A Small Business Call to Action”, Geller, D. and Muscat, E., International Academy of E-Business, San Francisco, March 2008; “Values Based Advising: An Applied Approach For Legal Counsel and Their Clients,” Caspersen, F., Milne, P. and Muscat, E. Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises Annual Conference, Yountville, California, May 2006.
Contact him as follows:
Eugene J. Muscat, Ed.D. , Professor of Management
University of San Francisco
School of Business and Management
Room MH 235
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
To assist you in creating a business that is built on your expressing who you are, and doing what you do well and feel passionate about.
To clarify your personality preferences and unique talents
To write an intention statement that delineates your strengths on which you can base your business
It is best for those who are developing a new business, but it can also be helpful for entrepreneurs who want to re-evaluate their roles in their business.
This exercise is designed for you, the reader. You may want to share with others interested in becoming entrepreneurs.
Pick a favorite place that opens you up to your creativity. I can work in coffee shops in spite of the noise, but you may prefer someplace more peaceful such as the beach, a park, or the library.
Proceed at whatever pace works for you. It depends on how aware you already are of your personality preferences and talents.
These are optional if you already have the information. Book: Follow Your True Colors To The Work You Love or MBTI or Keirsey Temperament Sorter.
1. Make a list of five of your positive personality traits if you already know them. If not, you can take the True Colors Assessment and find a list of these traits based on your first color in Follow Your True Colors To The Work You Love. You can find the same information from your MBTI or Keirsey Temperaments.
2. Next, make a list of five things that you do particularly well - your talents.
3. From your lists of personality traits and talents, which two traits and which two talents do you feel the most passionate about? In other words, which ones give you the greatest satisfaction or sense of excitement?
4. Who needs a service using your particular traits and talents - students, job seekers, career coaches, and others?
Write an intention statement that includes the four steps above. Example: I intend to use compassion and my desire to help people reach their potential to inspire and train professionals to better prepare job seekers in finding fulfilling and rewarding careers. Write your intention statement: I intend to use ( list 2 of your major personality traits) to ( list 2 of your special talents) (what audience for what purpose).
Focus your attention on your intention by reading your statement daily until you actualize it. This is exactly what Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul did. Their book was turned down by all of the major New York publishers but they didn’t let that stop them. Two years before their book became a best seller I visited their office in Southern California and they had posted all over the walls – Chicken Soup for the Soul, #1 New York Times Bestseller. They believed in the idea so strongly that they wrote it down and focused their attention on what they wanted daily. Within two years they turned that book and many others into New York Times #1 Bestsellers. Like them, don’t allow any obstacles or challenges of any kind deter your efforts to be successful. Build your business on your strengths.
Are you open to introspection and discovering your true self?
What brings you satisfaction at a soul level?
How can you turn your strengths and passion into a service for others?
What are people looking for that you can provide in a unique way?
Is there a need for a partner and what strengths could they add that compliment yours?
Who would make good mentors?
Are you willing to stretch yourself and take some risks?
Did you clearly state your personality traits and unique talents?
Did you write an intention statement that explains how you will use your personality strengths and talents to build your business?