According to the Cambridge Dictionary “boxed in” is defined as “prevented from doing what you want to do”. I think we all know what that feels like when we are prevented from doing something we innately are good at. Have you ever felt “boxed in”? Are you feeling “boxed in” at work?
In retrospect I felt “boxed in” when I was considering transitioning from one job role to a different job role within the same organization. It seemed to me that the qualities that were required to fit the job I did not possess. It was then that I began to do an evaluation of the skills I had in comparison with the skills required to be a good fit. What I had difficulty with was that the hiring manager had a “boxed in” mentality. The game was on. I had to find a way to convince the hiring manager that I had the skills required regardless of the job title and/or role.
We are often encouraged to market our brand when looking for new roles or changing careers. I found that branding and marketing oneself is not difficult considering all the in depth advice out there. I divided my skills into two categories soft skills and hard skills. We each possess soft skills that we are innately good at and these skills are often overlooked by both ourselves and the ones doing the hiring. We feel “boxed in” because we somehow doubt that we can transition from one role to another.
What are some of the soft skills that companies looking to hire require in employees today? We often hear that empathy, active listening, problem solving, adaptability, positive attitude, organization, teamwork, and I could go on – but that would take another post. In a nutshell interpersonal skills are skills that we are all born with and develop over time as we make use of them. It seems to me that hard skills can be learned if one is driven to; however, soft skills may take a lifetime to learn yet they seem to be the most crucial in the workplace. I think regardless of the type of work you do if you possess soft skills you can easily make the argument that they are transferable to the new role you are seeking.
I would encourage you to take into account the soft skills you have, make them transferable, and pursue that new role or career change you seek. Do not let your thinking be “boxed in” just as you are able to sell your brand you are well able to use your soft skills to persuade the hiring manager or recruiter that you have what it takes. I am an admirer of organizations that have the kind of mentality that soft skills matter most; they are one step ahead because they realize that one can be talented even genius but if they lack interpersonal skills how much time, effort, and resources it would take to teach that individual.
Are you feeling “boxed in”? Take a moment reflect, evaluate, and jot down your soft skills. Think about the new role, transition, or career change and apply your soft skills to the requirements. Build confidence by talking with others who have made the changes, dive deeply, and resist the mentality of being “boxed in”.