When working with clients as a career coach, they often want to jump right into job searching. While this might seem like a logical first step, the first thing I give my clients is a personality assessment. If they are coming to me they are unhappy in either their current role, organization or industry. To turn job searching into a conscious inquiry into the authentic expression of their professional life, it’s critical to empower clients with new self-knowledge to make sound career choices.
We all have that friend that has a corporate job that seems too good to be true. These jobs boast free lunch, on-site spin class, free snacks and casual Fridays. As more and more large companies seek to “Google” themselves, the corporate life can seem very compelling. For some, it is a perfect fit. It’s great to never have to worry about resources, the company existing in a year from now or your basic health care costs being covered. Who doesn’t want that?
But, what if a small company is more suited to your personality? Perhaps you love a smaller tight-knit team and though not up for being a CEO, you love leading in an entrepreneurial atmosphere. It can be nerve-racking if you are operating within tight budgets and the roles are overloaded and overlapping. There is no HR to protect you but hey, you can wear jeans everyday.
There is of course the in-between, mid-size business that may offer a little of each of these setups, which is always a great compromise.
To be fair, each situation has its benefits. The key here is looking at your personality. For the purpose of this article, I’ll be using the five-factor model based on the “Big 5” personality traits. This model is one of the most widely accepted research-based models used to study and identify personality traits. (Sorry Myers-Briggs fans, but MBTI is based on zero empirical research). The “Big 5” personality dimensions are: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism (OCEAN).
To take a free version of the Big 5 Personality Test, click here.
You score moderately on openness. Innovation is not reserved for small companies, but in larger organizations it can take more time to get things done. Larger organizations still need big ideas and creative thinkers, but you might have to wait as you go through a number of proper channels to see the ideas to fruition. Routine and increased policies and procedures can be a challenge to get around.
You score mid to high on neuroticism. Don’t let this word scare you. While every work atmosphere has some degree of stress, large companies that have history of being successful and profitable may be a good fit for people who thrive in a safe and secure atmosphere. If sudden change rattles you, this may be more your speed.
You score very high on conscientiousness. Sure this quality works everywhere, but if you are higher on this dimension, you will prefer steadier, focused work and projects. Sudden stops and starts are not your favorite thing, and you need the solid reliability of a big organization and its relationship to keeping initiatives alive.
You score very high on openness. In small companies, especially startups, new ideas are what is eaten for breakfast. When you are highly open and curious, the small business atmosphere will offer you a lot of opportunity to suggest and pioneer new initiatives. However, lack of resources may make it a little harder to accomplish some of those ideas, but nevertheless your type likes the challenge.
You score high on agreeableness. You’ll need to be highly adaptable to love working in a small atmosphere. Things can change in an instant, launch dates get postponed, projects get killed, but there is always something new coming down the pike. Predictability is not where it’s at, but it’s OK, you love change like that.
You score mid-high on extroversion. In a small business, you may work very closely with people on a team, but you may also need to be able to tolerate alone time when you need to concentrate on large tasks that you need to own. Having the flexibility to be able to be vibrant with others and focused on your own will serve you well.
These are just a few perspectives of how some personality traits show up in organizational settings, and of course nothing is absolute. The importance of selecting the work atmosphere that reflects who you are is essential to your long-term career success. Happy working—you deserve it!
– – – – – –
Join Stephanie at ICF Converge 2017, where she will be presenting the session “Career Coaching: An Individual and Organizational Approach” on Thursday, August 24.
ICF Converge 2017: The Intersection of Coaching & Potential is ICF’s first global event since 2012. It is taking place August 24-26, 2017 in Washington, D.C., USA at the Washington Marriot Wardman Park.
Connect with the conversation on Facebook and with the event hashtag #ICFConverge.
Stephanie B. Licata, MA, ACC is a skilled Career Coach, business consultant, educator, and speaker, with more than 18 years of leadership and management experience in the business and educational arenas. She is a Career coach for both individual clients and organizations to provide career development coaching to employees. Most recently, she has been collaborating with human resources professionals in Native America to provide career development training for thousands of employees and coach training for individuals in positions of leadership. Stephanie has also worked with organizations in the areas of recruiting, training, and leadership development. She has delivered hundreds of workshops and trainings in related areas globally. Stephanie received her professional coaching certification from New York University and is also certified at the ACC level with the International Coach Federation. Stephanie has a bachelor’s degree in counseling and a master’s degree in applied social and organizational psychology from Columbia University.
The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.
ICF is the largest worldwide resource for professional coaches, and the source for those who are seeking a coach. Formed in 1995, today ICF is the leading global organization, with over 20,000 members, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high professional standards, providing independent certification, and building a network of credentialed coaches.
Visit our website.