Caution: the following post contains strong catchy tunes and potential cringe-worthy imagery. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are not the products of the author’s imagination nor used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is done entirely on purpose. In other words- this is the real deal.
Think of your career as your individually designed chessboard, the territory on which both the dark and white chess figures have a dispute on. Every day during your current career path you are pulling and moving these figures. Your talents, skills, knowledge, expertise, and character are all part of that. Every day you’re choosing to sacrifice, exhibit and display these figures to move towards your checkmate position.
But if chess symbolises a war between two opposing sides and by definition war is won by annihilating the enemy, then first you need to identify who you are playing opposite to. The answer, as you have probably sense, is very obvious. You are your own chess opponent. Your fears, doubts, egos, insecurities, mistakes, indecisiveness, dramas, and preconceived ideas of failure are the figures on the opposite side of your chessboard.
Defence, attack, abandon- everything happens from within you and because of you. It's all about which of your own figures you are going to let dominate the chessboard. When you advance forward, expand your skills, overcome the fear of failure, stand above your doubts, everything transforms, and each movement is fluid and leads to glory. But just as you confidently place your figures in a checkmate position, the opponent strikes back.
So how do you win at a chess game that is pitting you against yourself?
Simple. You ask the designer of the chessboard to let you in on all the tips and tricks.
And who might that be? Well, it’s your dear HR Department.
Causeway Connect seemed to have skipped through its childhood and sprung directly into its pubescent years. Despite the disbelief of many, we have seen impeccable growth throughout the past year, both on the Macedonian market and in the UK. And in the words of our Founding HR turned CEO Mother: we really needed to structure everything a bit.
Holding more than 130 employees, operating in 10 different industries, Causeway Connect suddenly became responsible for reshaping the outline of the labour market in the country and with that establishing a new, different type of employee brand. Slowly but steadily we have been moving the bar higher and higher when it comes to delivering results with elegant performance and poise.
What that meant for the HR team was stepping up to the plate and taking a neutral stand in the mid of all the chaos while prioritising one thing: our employee’s career paths.
After copious brainstorming sessions and many hours spend colour coordinating excel spreadsheets, we ran into the same conclusion over and over again: our employees truly are our most valuable weapon. So the HR team set out a goal to be involved in every detail of the process of the making of an employee’s career from their CV application, to their arrival in the company to overseeing their daily tasks and duties, plans and achievements and acting as a bridge between where that employee is at the moment with our clients to where they want to be in the future. We designed each chessboard, thought out every rule, sketched every possible outcome, highlighted each strength and pointed out every weakness. We placed each employee’s chess figures in order. The pawns, the knights, the bishops, the queen and king, everything we set out as it should be, and we let the game begin.
What we noticed in the process is that playing the game was not a problem for anyone, but knowing what was at stake with every move you make, was a difficulty everyone within the teams faced at one point or another.
The following paragraphs are your cheat sheet on how to win at your own chess game. We hope that whatever your career path is, and whatever field you have chosen to conquer, you always remember the below mentioned tricks.
The Causeway Connect HR Team
There is nothing you can do, that can’t be done…
…nothing you can’t sing that can’t be sung, nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game, it’s easy! All you need is a perfectly thought out and structured Linkedin Profile, and a rough draft of your goals!
John, George, Paul and Ringo almost had it all figured it out!
(Please direct your eye rolls and sighs and judgments somewhere else, you knew deep down I was going to take guidance from a British boy band at some point, you just did not know which one it was going to be, also we are a UK based company after all so it would be a crime not to do that.)
But in all honesty, I can not stress enough how important your Linkedin presence is for your career, and I say that from personal experience. My boss is going to be reading this post and having one of her smirks because, in fact, she was the one who urged me to start bragging about myself on Linkedin. But in reality, Linkedin is so much more than a platform where you can market your skills. It is a gateway to every possible career path available in the world, a sneak peek of the future and everything technology and progress might bring, a dip into every industry and what it has to offer and a look into the personal diary of everything any employee on every continent is going through. Every conference, event, webinar, seminar, that you can use to strengthen your skills, and confidence can be found on your Linkedin home page. It is the bread and butter of any working person and you need to maximise the use of its potential ASAP. Classic recruitment strategies are dying out and giving way to an exciting new world of Linkedin headhunting. And your Linkedin profile is a recruiter’s Nirvana. We are doing the job of finding you, your dream job, all you have to do is appear on Linkedin.
The second part of your career armour should consist of your goals. People often put so much pressure on themselves into having a set list of defined goals. In this ever-changing environment and the upcoming birth of the new decade, we as millennials have been given even more room and opportunities to experiment with. So, when the options are endless, as someone that deals with people’s job titles and careers, I think it is safe to not be certain of what and who you want to be. Give yourself time to figure it out. Maybe you will enjoy the process of finding out who you want to be much more than ever acquiring your dream job title. Hence, I say, have a rough draft of your goals, always keep an eye on the finish line but let your perspectives, desires and needs change, as you change.
After all, nothing is a constant, seasons change, trends die out and boy bands eventually always fall apart, but we all enjoy experiencing the process of it all.