Date posted: 30/06/2020 5 min read

Goal setting and goal getting tools for making decisions

Anjali Ilsley FCA, Financial Controller at Save the Children Australia, shares how reflecting on your values, skills and passions can assist you in making informed career decisions.

In Brief

  • Research shows 15% of workers globally are actively disengaged in their work as they are unable to find opportunities to extend themselves
  • Remain open-minded and explore your potential career opportunities that challenge you and help you grow
  • Experiences shape your career path, and help you grow your skill set

In 2017, the State of the Global Workplace report released by Gallup that an overwhelming 71% of workers are not engaged, with as many as 15% indicating that they are actively disengaged in their work as they were unable to find opportunities to expand their skill set or use their unique combination of skills in their work.1

As professionals spend the majority of their day at work and define themselves by what they do, how can they make better-informed career choices that help them align their role with their career goals and therefore find greater job satisfaction?

Financial Controller at Save the Children Australia, Anjali Ilsley FCA believes that through increased self-awareness and being open to career possibilities, professionals can make decisions to help them succeed both professionally and personally. We speak to Ilsley to discover how reflecting on your values, skills and passions can help you create a satisfying and fulfilling career.

Anjali Ilsley FCA

Anjali Ilsley FCA, Financial Controller at Save the Children Australia.

Trusting your instincts when making career-changing decisions

As you gain experience across the different stages of your career, it is important to take time to reflect on whether you are fulfilled by the role you are in and what aspects provide the greatest satisfaction.

By being more self-aware in the career planning process, professionals can identify their career needs and evaluate whether they need to make changes to align more with their personality, skills, interests and values.

As an experienced leader with a demonstrated history of working in the professional and consumer services industry, Ilsley believes that it is important to stay true to yourself - both as a professional and as an individual - and trust your instincts when it comes to embracing change.

"When I left Australia Post after 12 years, I left knowing that I didn't have a role to go to which was a leap of faith for me. I knew though that I needed to have a break to spend time with my family and recharge my batteries," Ilsley says.

"I may not have planned all of my career steps, but over time I developed a vision on what I would like to achieve both professionally and personally. There are many thoughts going into making a decision, but once I made it, I never second guessed the decision."
Anjali Ilsley FCA, Financial Controller at Save the Children Australia.

If you are looking for your next business opportunity, or - like Ilsley was - hoping to realign your career with your values, Ilsley says that by understanding how your skills can contribute to your next role, and not being afraid to make some of your decisions based on your gut, can help you gain further experiences and develop in your career.

"I have developed greater confidence in my own knowledge, skill set, and ability over the course of my career. I really do believe that we often underestimate ourselves, so take the time to acknowledge how much you can contribute to a role," Ilsley says.

Staying open-minded and exploring possibilities

Although you may have your heart set on a specific career, it is important to remain open-minded to other opportunities that challenge you and help you to grow and reach your full potential.

Having worked in a few different roles and organisations including KPMG and Australia Post, Ilsley says that recognising that her accounting skills could be applied to different industries was a key point in helping her rediscover the vast possibilities of a career in finance.

"When I moved away from finance midway through my career at Australia Post, it was to challenge myself to be known as more than a technical accountant and further my professional development. I knew that finance was a core skill set that I could return to in the future, but I needed to see if I could be more," Ilsley says.

"Getting back into finance was a challenge as I had to prove to others I still had the skills and capabilities and just required a refresh of my knowledge on changed standards. The effort was worth it as I have learned so much about myself in the transition back into finance."

Ilsley recommends viewing all your experiences as opportunities to grow in your self-confidence as you challenge yourself and discover what excites you. She encourages accounting and finance professionals to stay open-minded when it comes to embracing new career experiences and change.

"It is important to challenge yourself and discover what you enjoy. Although my former roles were rewarding on so many different levels, they also helped me discover what I did and didn't like in a job. My experiences helped me reaffirm that moving back into finance was the right decision," Ilsley says.

Creating your own unique career path

Ilsley says that although making decisions and career moves has not been easy, she has been able to learn plenty about herself and finds that smaller steps forward can lead to the bigger change. She has learnt that compromises may be required, and that it is ok if the transition takes longer than first expected.

"Be prepared to make some compromises during your journey if they are incrementally helping you achieve that long-term goal. We all have a vision of where we want to be, but if the one step change is not possible, make small adjustments along the way to help you get there," Ilsley says.

"Don't underestimate the experiences that you are gaining, and even though you might think it's not the perfect move at the time, your experiences will benefit you in your next role."

Whether you are in the process of self-discovery, or looking to make your next bold career move, Ilsley's advice is to remind yourself that change starts with you, and that you can create a career that you love.

"Find ways to keep yourself motivated as you continue to recognise where your interests lie, what you are passionate about, and how a successful transition can lead to a role that you love. Start building your network, attending seminars, or even just start chatting with other people about what interests you. You never know how a simple introduction can open up a world of opportunities," Ilsley says.

"Be willing to go with what opportunities are available to you, opposed to trying to always control your next move. Remember to be ambitious, trust your gut and be willing to try new things."


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