The Career Canvas (8 - Time & Place)
The last dimension we're gonna look at pertains to Time and Place, or when and where you want to work.
Let's try to get a sense of how much of your time you want to spend on your professional life. For now, let's focus on your immediate future, such as your next assignment.
Hours per week
How many hours per week do you see yourself spending at your next job? A common working week in many parts of the world is 40 hours, or 8 hours per day, 5 days a week.
In some countries, industries, organisations or careers, working full time will mean actually sticking to working for 8 hours, but in others you might be expected to work up to 10 hours per day or to come in on weekends. For example, if you work in Japan, if you work in the Management Consulting business, or if you work as a Manager and are trying to climb the career ladder.
Working full-time might be the standard, but a lot of people make do with working 50% or 75%, often by combining different jobs or projects, by having a business on the side that brings in some steady income, or by moving to the countryside or adopting a minimalistic lifestyle so they can keep their costs of living to a minimum.
When you know how many hours you want to spend per day, you might also want to define when you want to spend them. The classic workday is 9-5, with a short lunch. But some people or organisations prefer starting their day at 8, or even earlier. And some prefer starting later in the day. Some people are even night owls or cover a night shift, so that could be an option too.
Set hours or flexible hours
Some organisations require their employees to all start work at the same time, whereas others allow for flex-time, meaning that employees may chose to come to work at any point during a certain window of time, for example between 7-9 am, as long as they spend their required hours in the workplace.
When you have an idea of how many hours you want to spend on your next assignment, and when you want to spend them, consider for how long you think you'll be wanting to keep that up. Do you aim to stay working in that position for three years, or five or indefinitely?
What you aim for here might be dependant on, or informed by, where you are in the world and what the professional culture you're trying to enter looks like. Perhaps by communicating to the organisation that you are ready to give them 4 years of your professional career before you will want to move on will convince them that you are someone who won't get too comfortable and stagnant, and someone who is professionally curious and has options.
Even if you aim to work for an organisation indefinitely, you might still want to plan out just how that would look like. For example, perhaps a more solid plan is that you'd work in that position for three years, and then move on to another position or another branch of the organisation, never staying in the same exact position for more than five years.
Now that you might have a better idea of how you would prefer to spend your time, let's also consider where you want to spend it.
So far I've only focused on workplaces where you spend most of your time in a pre-defined location. The classical setup where you work in an office from a designated desk, harking back to the times before laptops and cell phones, where you actually had to be in the office, at your desk, in order to be able to get any work done. This setup yet be your preference if you for example feel that it provides you with consistency, which makes you able to work more efficiently, or if your job requires you to use bulky office equipment, such as a high-powered desktop computer, or a multiple screen monitors.
A similar setup is where you work in the same office every day, but from different work stations. Instead of having designated desks, the workplace might use a flexible seating arrangement, meaning that people simply can grab any seat that is available as they arrive to the workplace. This could be your preference if you for example like varying your work environment, if you like to mix and socialise with new people, or if you don't like the thought of risking to become too comfortable in one place.
Regardless of if you think you'd prefer a designated desk or a flex seat arrangement; if you're in a position where you're employed at an office, there is still the question of how much travel you would like to do in you work, if any.
Travelling for work
If you feel the need to stay put in one place for whatever reason, such as that you just found a new place to settle down into, that you're about to start a family, that you're taking care of a sick relative, or that you have a massive fear of flying, you can simply communicate that you're looking for a position where don't have to travel for work any more than absolutely necessary. Then you could limit your travel to only big events where your presence is required, such as any annual all-hands meeting that the organisation may organise for employees spread out over several locations, or the biggest yearly industry event that practitioners in your industry just "can't" miss out on.
And if you on the other hand feel like travelling extensively in your work, you can chose to communicate that you're looking for a position that will allow you to do just that. For example if you want to be able to broaden your horizons, effect personal growth, experience new cultures, try out the night life of different cities, sample new culinary experiences, or do adventure sports in exotic locations. If you really feel that nothing is holding you down, you might even want to communicate that you're looking to uproot and relocate; for example to a specific continent, country or even city.
Today, since modern technology makes it possible for a lot of people to work remotely, you could aim to do just that. On the one hand, you could work from home, and only very seldomly come into the office. On the other hand, you could be travelling the world as a `Digital Nomad`, meaning that you could live in remote locations where living costs are low but where you still could earn a competitive salary as long as you have access to a high-speed internet connection so that you can stay connected to your organisation. Of course, if you and your organisations head office are located on different sides of the planet, you might again have to consider the time aspect; since normal business hours for your organisation might be during night time from the perspective of where you're located.
Take ten minutes and try to decide on your preferences for when and where you want to work.
"My immediate plan is to travel the world and get experience from working abroad within my chosen field as an IT-specialist. I plan on doing this for 3 years until I have collected enough money to come back home and start a family. During this time I can be very flexible with where I live, so I would have no problem for example travelling a couple of days per week in order to visit different offices or clients. I don't mind overtime or odd hours during these periods, as long as it is followed by downtime so I can recharge my batteries."
"I want to find a position where I can work in one place, without having to travel much. I'm at my best when I can have a routine of going to the office everyday, starting at 8.30 and working away for eight hours together with my team, who keep to the same times. To me, this is the most efficient way to go about things, because everyone is there, and everyone equally feels that they are part of what we do, which isn't the case if some team members work from other parts of the world and call in on a computer screen, or if we have flexible hours and people aren't present at the same time."
"I'm working half-time on my own startup project, so I'm looking for a half-time position where I can work remotely as a software programmer. I'm on Central European Time, but due to my situation I can be pretty flexible with my daylight hours."