Designing your career as you go

Success can be short-sighted nowadays with people chasing cool sounding positions. Having spent the last 5 years in the startup world, surrounded by founders, I’ve experienced that true fulfillment only comes by constantly checking in with yourself: Resdesigning your life often so it corresponds with your current values. There are fears and limiting beliefs connected to career change (taking bigger job, switching fields, starting / leaving business). How can we allow ourselves to go for it? Presented by Philia.

How do I know, it is time to re-define my career?

herCAREER: Throughout my working life: How do I know, it is time to re-define my career?

Lokajova: There are, in my experience, two aspects to it. One is subjective, intuitive: You just feel it. You know that something is off, and you have been aware of that for quite some time. Maybe you outgrew your role and the company doesn’t allow you to proceed on a higher, more challenging position. Or you don’t fit among your coworkers anymore. Or you got in the field you work at as a plan B, when, actually, you’d much rather work in a completely different field. And you just feel it’s time for a change. You know it is time when the risk of the unknown seems much less scary than the pain of staying where you are.

The other aspect is rational. Look at it rather objectively. Are you really working according to your full potential? If not, what more can you do? What more do you want ? Where can you learn, what skills do you want to acquire? Are you valued enough in your current position (both financially and by the behavior of people, especially your leaders)? If not, how do you wish to be valued? Are you just drained overall or only by certain tasks? Perhaps try tracking your energy levels and fulfillment levels during different work-related tasks: Did this particular task energize you or drain you? Did time pass by? How did you feel during it and how did you feel when it was done? This answers you a lot about the course of career change you want to take. It may turn out that your current work is still something you want to be doing (because you feel great when solving a problem, or interacting with clients), but it’s the work environment that causes you stress. Or maybe you see that out of all your workload, you only enjoy 10 %. Then stick to that 10 % and examine it furthermore, there are some valuable answers about your future dream job hidden.

herCAREER: What is your advice on how to start re-defining it?

Lokajova: First of all, don’t quit just yet. That is an important step one. Because once you start asking yourself these important questions about where you are and where you want to be and you see how big the gap is (although often the gap is way smaller than we think), you’d just want to throw a towel in the ring and give up. At least that’s how I felt. Don’t quit just yet.

Step two: Give yourself very concrete time slot. It can be one or two months, but it can also be six. Use this time to navigate your career to new levels. Observe yourself more consciously. Seek for answers as to what works for you and what doesn’t. Get to know yourself deeper. Who are you? What do you want to accomplish in this world and why are you doing it? Sometimes we don’t have a clue and that’s ok. It starts coming together sooner than later. Give yourself time. You have that money flowing from your current job (if not, get a part time job or anything. You need to feel secure and safe during this time of transformation!). Set your mindset on solution-oriented mode and get excited – you are working on the most exciting project: You and your future!

herCAREER: Once I know the time is right for the next big step and I am getting „stage fright“– what are methods or tricks on how to focus on what’s important and overcome the fear?

Lokajova: Pretty much anything that makes you feel in control of the whole situation. There is a lot of instability in periods of any change (be it from university to your first job, changing careers or starting your business) and you need guidance. You need tools. Coaching tools such as Ikigai concept16 personalities or The Wheel of life can be some of those, books such as Designing your Life or Job to Love by School of Life might be others. Open yourself up to podcasts and valuable content. Networking and events such as herCAREER are a must too, because 1) you need to know you are not the only one and what you are going through is perfectly OK, 2) these are great ways to connect with people who might already be doing what you want to be doing – so reach out and ask.

Some of my favourite tools are books written by people in my field or just seeing their work online and mirroring some of their best practices. I learn a lot from Marie ForleoTom Bilyeu or David Letterman. Also walks, hiking, meditation, om chanting, mastermind group, coaching, therapy are all tools I use on weekly basis.

And about the fears stopping us, I don’t think we can outrule the evolution, so the only solution is to invite them along as our companions (I love this analogy of driving a car by Elizabeth Gilbert). I am currently navigating my journalist career from writing in Czech to a more international level and a lot of fears and limiting beliefs arise. They may stop me for a while, but they also show me more about myself and what I care about. So, I may not proceed as fast as I’d like to, but by acknowledging them I see where I need to grow. It’s different for everyone, but any way we can “talk” to our fears is a skill we’d really cherish for a lifetime.

herCAREER: At herCAREER, the focus is on professional exchanges, which is based on the personal experiences and the knowledge of the sparring partners. As an organizer, it is also in our best interest to support women beyond the exhibition and make our networks accessible. We would therefore like to ask you if you would also act as a sparring partner in addition to the trade fair participation. If so, we would ask you to name the topics for which you would act as a sparring partner in bullet points.

  • Journalism, media
  • Content / copywriting
  • Employer branding
  • Personal productivity
  • Co-creating a startup

herCAREER: Are there topics to which you would personally like to find a sparring partner and would like to continue a professional as well as personal exchange. Then, please also name us a list of the subjects you are interested in.

  • Journalism, media, future of media
  • TV broadcasting, video interviews
  • Having a TV show / being a TV host
  • Founding an international company

herCAREER: How can interested women contact you?

Über die Person

Pavla Lokajova is a Prague-based writer, content creator, aspiring global journalist and future-of-everything enthusiast. Her journey in media started 10 years ago as she co-founded a university magazine and continued in various advertising agencies until she co-created BusinessAnimals.cz, a startup focusing on employer branding. During those four years, she worked as editor-in-chief, led a bunch of reporters and videomakers, as well as managed to interview over 300 CEOs and top leaders. Then she felt this business chapter was over and carefully designed her way towards new, more global career, which she claims is still in the making.From startups, ecommerce, diplomacy and politics to migration, racism and gender gap, she aims for her work to bring understanding, hope and practical implications.