November 02, 2020
OWSD Nigeria National Chapter University of Port Harcourt Branch series of scientific communications: Olubukola Oluranti Babalola on science career leverage
Indicators in science career leverage
Professor Olubukola Oluranti BABALOLA, Pr.Sci.Nat., MASSAF
Vice President: OWSD, Africa
This presentation aims to serve as the foresight to those embarking on new jobs, investments or preparing for retirement. At the same time, it hopes to guide anyone that desires progression in their careers.
The necessity lays it upon everyone to earn a living to support the numerous needs. These earnings majorly come through the exchange of goods or services. However, it is not only sufficient to secure a means of livelihood but for such to be productive, sustainable and lasting. The extent of input in terms of services, resources, effort, or time directly dictates the level of satisfaction, reward, benefit or recognition obtained. It will be safe to continue this discussion with an emphasis on ‘career’ as the theme.
According to Mariam-Webster dictionary, “Career is the profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling, in the field of the pursuit of consecutive achievement especially in public, professional, or business.”
For many people, a career refers to the part of life that is concerned with employment. It is the total of decisions that direct your educational, social, economic, political and spiritual endeavors and reflect your unique personality characteristics and fundamental life values (Phifer, 2003). Whether the career requires extensive education and training as common to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine to others, you hardly need any preparation; soft skills are good leverage. Although researchers are trained as professionals in the Science, Technology and Innovation fields, several people still experience dissatisfaction in their workplace. Regardless of its complexities, the circumstances surrounding a particular problem boil to one of these four significant challenges, as documented by O’Donnell (2020);
- Career setback: When unexpectedly laid off, demoted, put on a performance plan, or are experiencing a stretch of unemployment.
- No career direction: When not currently on a job, maybe each of the several assignments of the past made the person feel underutilized, uninspired, unappreciated, and cannot seem to find something that brings satisfaction again.
- Desire to change direction: When having been in a career for a while, and think it is time to change professions. Such a person wants to break into a new industry or use a different skill set but cannot figure out how and is not in a position to start entirely over.
- Anxious to accelerate: When one has a job, he likes and a career path in view but is not moving forward at the desired rate. I am just struggling to navigate the way to getting more of what one likes and getting impatient.
These challenges constitute job security issues to many who could not out-compete their contemporaries and sustain their relevance in the profession, as businesses continue to face the challenge of navigating increasing complexity, speed to market and global reach. Thus, this requires the right people to earnest the help of soft skills. Therefore, to be proactive and align with such a system, individuals must learn to leverage their career strength to achieve a smooth sail.
“Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I can move the Earth” – (Archimedes).
“attempting to succeed without embracing the tools immediately available for your success is no less absurd than trying to row a boat using only your hands or trying to unscrew a screw using nothing more than your fingernail” (Ritchie Norton, founder of Global Consulting Circle).
To elevate our current standing, some of the indicators that can be adopted in leveraging careers (Andersen 2017) are;
- Managing career assets to keep on top of the change process
- Position: Know what the position affords an individual to influence and how to best place oneself to build it to enhance your professional regard and peers.
- Strategic alliances and networks to keep afloat
- Positive attitude for a lasting systemic change
- Digital footprint to validate your stories
- Investments in self and others to champion and maximize knowledge, talents, and skills
Therefore, the ability to effectively leverage on one’s strength to access the opportunities around and hasten the preparedness to reach out to others genuinely and purposefully towards attaining future successes depends mainly on soft skills.
Soft skills for workplace development include but are not limited to communication skills, emotional intelligence, people skills, social skills, and personality traits that make it easy to get along and work harmoniously with other people. Soft skills are not as straightforward as hard skills. Leverage on soft skills at work, such as demonstrating strong interpersonal skills to navigate today’s highly collaborative work environment, is of great importance in attaining a fulfilling career because; the pace of business is incredibly fast today. Also, many employers are keeping an eye toward the future when hiring. As such, they want to invest in candidates with the ability to grow with the company and eventually assume a leadership position (Bernazzani, 2017; Half, 2019).
The need to have well-developed soft skills and continually refining it is essential in getting hired, progressing in the career, attaining leadership roles, and reaching a peak in one’s profession. Half (2019) enumerated some of the ways to improve and develop soft skills as;
- Be mindful of showing empathy, being a good listener, using humor, promoting teamwork, and acknowledging the co-workers’ accomplishments.
- Do not stop learning. Whether it is a public speaking course or a leadership workshop, there are many ways to sharpen soft skills through continuing education. Colleges and universities and professional organizations are just some of the resources that could provide formal training.
Conclusion and recommendation
Get back on track even if the job experience had not been pleasant in the past. While leveraging the strength is vital in being relevant to the job, developing and improving soft skills enables one to find expression quickly. In as much as there is still something to know, keep learning and keep winning.
Andersen, M. (2017). What’s your career leverage? Available from: http://www.margotandersen.com/whats-career-leverage/ (Last accessed: 26/10/2020).
Archimedes, cited by Andersen M. (2017). What’s your career leverage? Available from: http://www.margotandersen.com/whats-career-leverage/ (Last accessed: 26/10/2020).
Half R. (2019). How to improve and leverage your soft skills at work. Available from: https://www.roberthalf.jp/en/blog/jobseekers/how-improve-and-leverage-yo....
Mariam-Webster Dictionary. Available from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/career (Last accessed; 25/10/2020)
O’Donnell J.T. (2020). There Are Only 4 Types of Career Problems Want to advance your career? Research shows you should stop thinking your problems are so complex. Available from: https://www.inc.com/jt-odonnell/there-are-only-4-types-of-career-problem... (Last accessed: 26/10/2020).
Phifer, P. (2003). College Majors and Careers, Fifth Edition. New York, NY: Ferguson Publication.
Ritchie Norton, founder of Global Consulting Circle, cited by Andersen M. (2017). What’s your career leverage? Available from: http://www.margotandersen.com/whats-career-leverage/ (Last accessed: 26/10/2020).