What Is Your Core Value for Your Career?

[insights] Posted by lemur47 on 9 December 2023

Today's insight is a short story about something that has happened in my life recently. If you're feeling uncomfortable about your career, please take this as a mental supplement.

People often say, 'I don't work for money, I work for something good'. Companies basically spread their message: 'Our purpose is to make people's lives better'. And I say to myself all the time, 'I'm doing my mission'.

But the reality is a bit different. We work for money. Double standard.

The problem is that we always need money to do our own business and to do our mission. We tend to do the work we don't want to do. We tend to quietly and patiently go through the terrible situations in our work with clients and colleagues. Because we work for money.

To be honest, sometimes I do work for money. I'm currently working on a consulting project to make a living. My focus is on making more money by developing effective strategies and tactics for an enterprise.

I actually have fun with ideation, prototyping and strategy planning. These things are very much in line with my strengths. It's really easy for me to visualise the future because I'm a visual thinker rather than a verbal thinker. Using both backcasting and forecasting techniques with art, design and systems thinking is also really fun stuff.

To build a simple strategy, I don't hesitate to buy 50 books, to do daily hands-on activities and to make some behavioural observations. And today, LEGO will be delivered for rapid prototyping. In the digital world, NoCode and LowCode tools are very useful and a great toolkit for you to quickly evaluate your ideas in a very tangible and practical way. Because the toolkit plays the same role as LEGO for you.

These things are fun and help me get things done effectively. But I always have something uncomfortable in my mind. The strange feeling is like I'm doing something wrong every single day.

Do you have the same feeling in everyday life?

To make sure, I decided to try a little experiment. I set an "open to work" status on LinkedIn, exclusively for recruiters. I also listed my preferred roles as Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Digital Officer. I used to work as a CTO for several startups, so I wanted to set a different goal this time.

I've received several opportunities from agencies, such as PMO, product manager, strategy consultant and CTO roles. But I noticed that I no longer felt that I fit into these roles and opportunities.

The next experiment was to make sure what and how I wanted to work. This was also related to the lifestyle I wanted. As I've stated on this website as a mission, sovereignty and freedom are my priority. So more than half of my career has been freelance or self-employed. And I found that I wanted to continue this 'free style'.

The last experiment happened by chance. When I had a meeting with a career agent, she asked me what my priorities were other than technology and the international environment. And I answered her without thinking: 'I'd like to change my career from technology and strategy consulting to the well-being business'.

At that point I suddenly realised that as a techie vegan, I really wanted to run a well-being business.

She also said why I was working on this website (Ethical Works) because I wanted to run a well-being business. So I finally realised what I felt in my heart. I just wanted to leave the current role and to start a new venture.

So I've decided not to renew my current contract with the consulting project. This means that I'm losing a main source of income and it really hits me, but I feel very light and I have mental clarity. The next step is to visualise the future and prototype some of it with LEGO and digital tools.

That is my story and a short insight. What about yours? What's your core value for your career and life?