Insights from practitioners in Information Management

Issue 55 – Motivating yourself to find work

I hope you took the opportunity to work through the goal setting exercise in last month’s edition of the Registrant Resources edition of Information Overload. Because it is the answers from those kinds of questions that will determine where you end up at the end of this year, the next five years and the career path that you take.

In looking at those things that you say that you want to achieve, and the thoughts and actions that are holding you back from achieving them, you may have already decided on a plan of action. However, I also know there will be some readers who not only didn’t do the goal setting exercise, are also the same ones who are most likely to complain about not being able to get on, that life is unfair, and did you see the size of their pay rise?

Why this happens is interesting. It is also the topic of this month’s edition of Overload for Registrants…Motivation.

In this issue we will look at:
• Beware the motivational hype
• Are you motivated by negative influences?
• Are you motivated by positive influences?
• Putting the plan into action
• Job Opportunities
• Notes from the Office
• A Thought to ponder

Beware the motivational hype:
Now, I am not going to go into the old motivational hype espoused by some in the industry (and yes it is an industry – a very big one), namely if you think better things, then good things will come to you. Because if it were that simple we would also be instant millionaires, living in the lap of luxury with the man/woman of our dreams, thin, gorgeous and driving the car we’ve always wanted.

As you may have realised, it doesn’t actually happen like that.

Whilst outside motivators are a good thing, we all need a boost now and then, the reason why these motivational speakers are doing so well is – they have a plan, it is their plan and it is working for them. And because it is their plan, it may not work for you. So if you’ve tried things before and failed, it is because you are not following your plan, but someone else’s.

This is why it was important that you do the goal setting exercise last month, because that is the basis for your own plan. You must understand the main principle behind motivation -what motivates one person to do something may not motivate someone else.

So how do you start to develop a plan that works for you?

1. Accept responsibility for where you currently are: You are totally responsible for where you are in your life at the moment. And before you complain to me that I do not know you, or your circumstances. I will say this: I am totally responsible for where I am in my life right now. No one can force me to think what I think. No one can force me to say what I don’t want to say, and no one can force me to do things that I do not want to do. And the same goes for everyone. We do not live in a dictatorship; we have total control over everything. So accept responsibility for where you currently are. And leave it at that for the time being.
2. Make the decisions: If you are totally responsible for where you are, then the next set of choices that you are faced with, and your attitude at the time those choices appear will have a direct impact on the decisions that you make. And the results of those decisions, will impact on the next set of choices that you are faced with. So accept that sometimes you will get it right and things will flow smoothly for you, and sometimes you will stuff up. The challenge is knowing the difference between the two – AND be willing to learn from your mistakes and try something differently next time.
3. Take action: No matter where you are right now, you have infinite power within you to do whatever needs to be done. The only thing that is holding us back is our fear. Fear that we will fail, we’ll apply for a job and won’t get it, fear that if we succeed we will be expected to maintain that level of success or worse still be expected to exceed it next time. (Oh my god I am not ready to lead a team of people, they will see right through me for what I am – a fake); Fear that the people we know will try and undermine us (they fear the changes you are about to make or have made in your lives to date, and think that you will abandon them), who do you think you are to even contemplate getting a better job. No one in the family amounted to much – why should you get ideas above your designated place in this life?

But what has that got to do with motivating myself to find a new job/better job? Well – everything actually.

Are you motivated to move by negative influences?
Negative influences can be extremely powerful. And they can be the spur that some of us need to get us going. But before you chuck in your current job – do a quick check and make sure it is not your attitude that needs changing rather than the job.

If your CV reads like yellow pages, if you have been asked to leave a job on more than one occasion I would recommend that you have a very serious look at your outlook on life.

• I hate the people I work with
• I hate my job, I do the same thing every day
• I hate the travelling
• I’m totally bored, the challenge disappeared years ago
• I’m not paid enough to do this
• I’m better than the rest of them put together
• I do more than they do, but does anyone appreciate the amount of time and effort I put in?

And then there are some people who are motivated by positive influences.

Are you motivated to move by positive influences?
• I’m ready for a new challenge
• I want to meet new people and gain new experiences and insights
• I want to be able to share my experience with other people and other organisations. I’ve managed to do so much here; I really want to use these new skills to benefit others. (Beware the ego on this one though).

The difference between being motivated by negative or positive influences is the impact on the kinds of job you apply for and ultimately get.

If you feel good about who you are and what you currently do, you are more likely to apply for a position at a higher grade/rate than the one you are on, one that will challenge you to be more and do more. Negative influences are more likely to prompt you to get any job to take you away from the one that you currently have. Of course this isn’t always the case, but in the main – if you are prompted by negative forces, it is likely that your self-esteem will be a little on the low side too. So it is important to understand the real reason you are ready to move on.

I am aware that I have not covered those of you who are currently working on contract either through IEA or through other organisations. Sometimes the greatest motivator of all is hunger. However, those of you with bills to pay (and who doesn’t); family to support and so on may be tempted to take anything that is on offer, just to keep the wolves from the door. Whilst this is not a bad strategy to have, it is always a good thing to look at the bigger picture:

• Do you need to work for the money – pay bills etc
• Do you enjoy the challenge of working for a number of organisations eg., on fixed-term contracts
• Are you willing to do anything until that perfect job comes along?

Putting the plan into action
If you have not set aside time to determine what it is you want to achieve in the next few years, then now is the time to do it. Please. Now whilst I cannot persuade you to do anything, unless you know what it is you want to achieve, then you will be tempted by someone else’s plan.  Remember the motivational hype we spoke about earlier? Well this is the time to go deep inside and ask the hard question…what do you want to be when you grow up, and what are you willing to do in order to get there?

You should also take a note of your emotional state and the thoughts that you currently have running through your mind. (BTW If you are thinking along the lines that I am talking absolute drivel then you will not do the assigned tasks). These thoughts are those negative and positive influences we spoke about earlier. If you don’t think that you can, then you won’t. Conversely the opposite is also true.

Ask yourself what level of commitment you are willing to assign to the task? If you are relatively happy doing what you are doing then you are unlikely to spend time updating your CV and reading the job section in the paper, let alone spending the hours writing your job application.

You should also note that your job application and the words that you use will be directly impacted on whether you are being prompted by negative or positive influences. And this on it’s own can determine whether you will be invited to attend an interview or not. Hidden inside your prose is a mixture of signals that can be read by other people.

If you have applied for a job recently re-read your application. can you tell what mood you were in when you wrote it? You should be able to tell if the words about your current employer are negative or positive, whether or not you use them as a referee, whether you use them as a positive or negative example in your selection criteria.

If you wrote the job application when you were in a good frame of mind, chances are also going to be good that the words will flow, the sentences and paragraphs were not stilted – to test this theory in an even more fundamental way – read it out loud to yourself. You will be amazed at the difference between what you thought you had written and what actually comes out of your mouth.

If the words you wrote were stilted, as in the sentences appeared jumbled, the information you were trying to convey came out garbled, then that two will show up in your writing. It’s an interesting exercise to complete, and one that I strongly recommend that you do.

Finally for today I need you to write down all the positives and negatives associated with your current employment, and the one that you say that you want. This too will give you an excellent indication of your state of mind towards your current employment, and once you have worked that out, then you should ensure that when you do put your application together that you do so safe in the knowledge that you are presenting not only your skills and abilities in the right way, but your attitude as well.

News from the Office
At the beginning of March members of Information Enterprises Australia met with representatives of Central TAFE and a number of local councils to discuss the Records Management Traineeship.

The meeting went well, and we are now waiting on Councils to let us know if and when they would like to participate in the new venture. We will of course let you know when we have any further information.

A Thought to Ponder
“You are responsible for every thought that you have, every word that you speak and every action that you take.”