3 Steps To Find Your Edge in the Job Market: On The Ontology of Value Model.

The Primary Currency vs the Secondary Currency.

Do you feel that career management is challenging for you? That you didn’t develop your full potential as a professional just yet? That despite your best every single day, you can’t spread your wings? And, regardless of how much heart and effort you put into your work, you are still undervalued in the job market? That others get promoted faster, and are given more responsibility than you? Well, if experience this type of resistance in the job market, there is a plausible explanation for it. Namely, you might have low self-awareness in terms of what type of value-builder you are. And you have might low awareness what to do for your professional development.

When we look for jobs, we often think, “How to improve my situation? How to find a job that will pay me more (per hour of my time?) ” Although this common career management dilemma sounds rational, it can lead to checkmating yourself as a professional. Here is why.

There are, in fact, two currencies floating in the job market: value and money. The market of white collar jobs is a complex ecosystem in which value flows through society like water across the globe. And, money follows this stream of value. In this landscape, we have the value sources, the basins of value, and the pumps (Fig. 1).

How Does Value Flow In Society?

Firstly, we have the value sources: private companies (B), public institutions (P), and freelancing professionals (F). Companies, by design, pool the value produced by their employees (E), process it, and distribute value to their clients ©. The whole concept of a company started from a clever observation that when you team up in a group of people with compatible skills, the value produced by the group supersedes the value produced by each member separately. Namely, that one plus one yields more than two. Once the combined value produced by the company for its clients © is higher than the value provided to the company by its employees (E), we obtain a profit and the company stays afloat. Similarly, freelancing professionals (F) are tiny value sources that distribute value directly to their clients ©.

And that in this system, the primary currency is value, and the secondary currency is money. In other words, money follows the value — not the other way around.

Figure 1 The circulation of value (and money) in the society. Both value and money flow in the society like a river. Value always comes first, money follows. The government’s role is redistributing funds from prolific value sources to the areas of the job market that need financial supply (non-profits and individuals who do not create profitable value at the moment). G: the government. P: public institutions. B: businesses. D: the disabled. R: retirees. U: the unemployed. F: freelancers. E: employees. C: clients. Green: value. Red: money.

Career Management Step #1: Find Your Core Competencies.

Well, this question should be self-explanatory by now! To improve on your career management and find the sweet spot in the job market where you will best develop yourself, you need to figure out where and how you can produce the most value, working also on your professional development.

What does this mean in practice? Well, there are three components to it (Figure 2). Firstly, you need to find your core competencies. Watch out: these competences don’t necessarily need to have much to do with the professional activities that you are spending the most time on at work! Core competencies relate to your biggest strengths and activities most joyful to you — as these skills you will develop best in the long run.

Core competencies can be those of your talents that you would never place on your resume, such as “the ability to listen,” “strong work ethic,” or “the ability to learn something new in every situation, even while standing in a queue to a grocery store.” It’s not necessarily what you communicate to the hiring manager in the recruitment process — it’s what you know about yourself, and what helps you make career decisions and build your career path.

Career Management Step #2: Find The Right Role To Play.

Secondly, you need to know what is your preferred role towards other people, or, in other words, your value-building profile. You already know what you enjoy doing at work — but in what role? Are you a type of a role model? Or rather, a highly-specialized problem-solver? Or perhaps, a contributor that prefers to solve problems in teams and build projects from the back seat? As a matter of fact, as a hard-working and intelligent person, you have a free choice of which roles to choose, but in some of them you will naturally perform better than in others — as they better fit your work style, personality, values and strong work ethic.

Also, most white collar jobs will require juggling multiple roles. The whole difficulty is to develop a strong work ethic, and find a position where the portfolio of roles that you need to play well corresponds with your natural potential. Please also find more information dedicated to discovering your profile as a value builder in the blog post “How Do We Build Value in the Job Market? Alfred Adler’s Theory and How You Can Profit From It.”

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Career Management Step #3: Find Your Tribe.

Lastly, you need to figure out where in the job market are the people who think like you. Or, in other words, your tribe. Let’s say that you are good at data analysis and you prefer to work as a specialist. Even knowing this fact about yourself, your quality of life as a professional might vary depending on whether you choose to work in a corporation, a consultancy company, a startup. Or perhaps, you decide to launch your own business. You will only be appreciated in an environment where others share your values, your strong work ethic, and your attitude to life and work. Please also find more information dedicated to looking for your tribe in the blog posts “Find Your Tribe” and “Safety vs Freedom: The Landscape of Post-PhD Careers.”

Figure 2 Your professional fingerprint (or, professional ID). To effectively self-navigate in the job market, you need to build your self-knowledge on three pillars: (1) Your profile as a value builder. (2) The knowledge about the working environments (a.k.a. tribes) where you fit best given your work style, personality, and values. (3) Your core competencies.

Creating your professional fingerprint is the best way to start crafting the career of your dreams. This self-awareness will help you make the right career choices and self-navigate towards the roles and the environments where you will flourish and you will realize your professional development plan using your natural potential.

Are you thinking of changing your career path? Would like to get an intensive training oriented at discovering your identity as a professional, and learning effective strategies for landing great jobs? Please join us at our intensive online career transition workshops! We will help you choose the right career path, help you land your new job, and teach you self-navigation strategies that will guarantee your success in professional development, and stay with you for a lifetime! Please find all the information about the workshops and registration links HERE.

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Originally published at Ontology of Value, July 10th 2021.



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Natalia Bielczyk, PhD

Natalia Bielczyk, PhD

A neuroscientist helping professionals in finding their dream career paths at ontologyofvalue.com Privately, enthusiast of tech with affinity to blockchains.