The best career advice hack to help you work out what direction to take when faced with new career choices is to use a card sort. This was the best advice I ever received from a career development professional. Card sorts are super useful for working through new job options, and for picking side hustles that work with the rest of your life. This tip came from Rick, a 25 year career counselling veteran.
Motivated skills and Career values Card sorts
If you are evaluating job opportunities or side hustles, there are two especially card sorts: the Knowdell Motivated Skills and the Knowdell Career values card sort. The career values deck is also great for checking whether a course of study is actually going to work out for you. It helps you sort your work values into 5 groups from things that you always value down to those things you never value.
A card sort is just what it sounds like. You take a pack of cards marked with various values, skills or careers depending on the purpose of the sort. Then you quickly sort them into piles. For the Knowdell motivated skills sort, cards are sorted along 2 axis. The first are headed ‘Totally delight in using,’ ‘enjoy using very much,’ like using,’ ‘prefer not to use,’ and ‘strongly dislike using.’ The second axis is highly proficient, competent and lack desired skill level.
One example of how this can help in career selection was a person about to start a cooking course to become a chef. Their always valued group included the terms work life balance, independence and time freedom. In their never valued group were fast paced, work under pressure. Anyone with an understanding of restaurant kitchens knows that this person needs to find a new line of work asap, and only cook as their hobby.
Working out what you really value at work is useful for evaluating job or study options. Even if you decide for other reasons – like your skills and strengths – to take a course of study that will conflict with your values, you are at least be better informed about the otherwise unseen challenges you will face to complete the course.
Card sorts and Side hustles
Card sorts and other career counselling strategies are just as useful when evaluating or developing a side hustle. When you have a side hustle idea you want to go with, put it through the matrix of your key values. For most people to succeed in something that is in addition to the demands of your main job, it needs to align closely with your values. Again, if there is no alignment this isn’t necessarily a no go. It just means you need to be aware and monitor for the unseen pressures that can drain you in a short time.
The skills card sort can be equally useful in side hustle decision making. If you actively plan to use your motivated skills every week your productivity and resilience will be greatly enhanced. This can guide you in how to apply your limited resources of energy, time and money, and build on your strengths using those skills. In side hustle terms it helps you pick exactly the right training you need right now to progress your business.
It’s not just about you
Like all self-knowledge of any worth gained from career counselling, understanding the salience of your values and skills makes you a better member of your communities. A conscious grasp your skills and values points you in the direction where you can develop the most and become more valuable to you clients, and colleagues. It also brings you face to face with your limitations. By honestly embracing your limitations you free yourself to acknowledge and accept the limitations of everyone. That enhances your impact with clients and colleagues. To say nothing of freeing yourself of a belief that can easily fuel the draining of your precious time and energy through pointless and indeed groundless frustration with others.