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Financial Peace University Lesson 11 – Working in Your Strengths

December 29, 2009 · Filed Under Financial Peace University · Comments 
Just in case you were wondering if I really had FPU class the week of Christmas, we did actually finish a few weeks ago. I started off running each post about a week after the lesson, but I’ll admit that over time I’ve drifted a bit farther behind than that! Anyway, Two more lessons to debrief after this one…

Careers and Extra Jobs

This week’s lesson centered around your career and here it is in a nutshell: You should really enjoy your work (at least for the most part) because you spend so much of your life doing it.  Check out these statistics from Ramsey: the average job lasts on 2.1 years in length.  That means that a worker could have as many as 20 jobs in their lifetime!  He also stated that 98.3% of employees work for small businesses (defined as those having less than 100 employees).  The backbone of our economy is truly the entrepreneur!

Some more myths

Apparently Dave Ramsey really loves debunking myths as this is the third lesson (I think) where he discussed commonly repeated myths.  So, let’s indulge him…

Myth: As you grow you change

Truth: You might grow, but you won’t outgrow your personality

Myth: You will learn and grow most in the areas where you are weakest

Truth: You grow in your strengths.  You grow the most in areas you already know and love.  Think of your passions – those are the areas that you care about the most and find interest in and therefore those are the easiest to drive you to grow even more.

Remember that money is never ultimately enough of a motivator for doing a job indefinitely.  If you hate your job, eventually that salary, no matter how large, will not be enough to get you out of bed and out the door each morning.  Therefore, Ramsey recommends that you seek a career that blends your skills, abilities, personality traits, values, dreams, and passions.  I’m sure you’ve been around people that really enjoy their job – it’s hard to tell if they are working or playing;  that’s when you know you are in the right career.

The DISC Personality Profile

Ramsey then spent a few minutes explaining the DISC profile and touching on the characteristics of each type.  There is too much information to even get into here but I do agree that going through a personality profile, be it DISC or Myers-Briggs or whatever, is a helpful exercise.  I’ll at least tell you what the four profiles DISC are:

  • Dominant
  • Influencing
  • Stable
  • Compliant

Job Hunting

Dave spent the remainder of the session presenting some tips on job hunting.  I won’t recount all of them here but I will hit on some of the ones I found most useful.  First of all, remember that a company is not looking for you, rather they have a problem and they need someone to solve it.  Therefore, approach your job search from that perspective – that you are here to solve their problem.

When you are getting ready to contact a company, approach it the way you would when starting up a new relationship with a person (maybe even like you are trying to get a date with someone).  Dave recommends contacting your potential employers at least three times – first to send an introduction letter, then to send a resume and cover letter, and finally a phone follow-up.  He reminds us that interviews and job offers come from networking and persistence.

When interviewing, treat it like you are the product and you want to present that product as the best one available.  And after an interview, tell them that you will follow-up with them on a certain date (and then make sure you do it!).  He also recommends sending a handwritten thank-you note to your interviewers.

What about extra jobs?

As opposed to raising your income for the long-term through a new job or career change, it is typically much easier to raise it in the short-term by finding an extra job (or two).  It will typically take a significant sacrifice on your part to work an extra job – but if you need to do it and you really want to win with your money, then you must be willing to make that sacrifice.

I found his next tip a very good one – he recommends that you have a detailed plan for your extra job(s).  In other words, create a plan for how much you will work, how much you will earn, and how long you will be doing it.  That way, you can see the finish line and know that though you are sacrificing, it is only for a certain period of time.  And finally, do not give up!

A final word of caution from Ramsey

Although we spent the entire class discussing careers and jobs and the like, he ended class by reminding us to not allow our career to be the all encompassing source of our satisfaction and self-worth.  This is a very important tip but sadly it is one that is often forgotten in our culture.

Wrap-up

I didn’t find a ton of new information in this class as I’ve heard most of the job hunting tips and done numerous personality profiles.  To be fair, I was able to pull out a few tips that I will use the next time I need them.  That being said, this was a very inspirational class.  You know, Dave is right, we spent too much of our short-time here on earth working.  Therefore, you should really strive to enjoy your work.  That might mean changing your attitude about your current job or finding a new job that you fit into better.  Dave mentioned during class that if you work for him and you don’t enjoy your job, then he’ll fire you.  It’s not good for them to have you working there and it’s not good for you to be working there either.

Now, don’t do anything rash, but if you are unsatisfied in your current position, I urge you to take some time and reflect on why that is.  It might be just a matter of you changing your approach to your job or finding another role at your current employer.  Or you may need to change to a different company or to an entirely different career to find that satisfaction and enjoyment.  And I know this is a really bad time to be considering looking for another job (see a few sentences up: “don’t do anything rash”) but you owe it to yourself to at least consider your options if you’re not in the best position for yourself at the present time.

Check out my previous FPU posts:

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