Reflecting on your career? Here are two books to read first.
From time to time you read something somewhere that accurately puts in words what you have learned yourself through experience. It is a very pleasurable experience as it not only validates your thoughts and convictions on certain matters, put gives you the tools, i.e. words and phrases, to talk to others about it.
The books I want to recommend did exactly that for me with regard to what elements should determine your next career move and how you could possibly get there.
In his book "Drive-The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" Daniel H. Pink exposes, to quote directly from his site, "the mismatch between what science knows and what business does - and how that affects every aspect of life". He makes a strong, science-based case for rethinking motivation.
If you apply the author’s approach to career planning, it is immediately obvious that the key to a successful career change is to first analyse the intrinsic motivators that are central to your life plan and from thereon select the roles and business environments where you can find the "autonomy, mastery and purpose" that are the basis for an exciting, rewarding and happy working life.
The second book I want to recommend is "Getting More - How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World" by Professor Stuart Diamond of the Wharton Business School.
The book is of course well-known and amply publicized in the media, but, much to my surprise, I still encounter too many senior executives and high potentials who are unaware of its existence.
Prof. Diamond offers an invaluable insight in the essence of negotiating. He concludes that "finding and valuing the other party’s emotions and perceptions creates far more value than the conventional wisdom of power and logic." The book challenges all conventional wisdom, from win-win to BATNA to rationality to the use of power. As a former MBA student, who digested all the conventional negotiation strategies as taught in the early '90ies, and often found them lacking in real life, I had already discovered early on that it was worth to keep in mind that "feelings are facts" when it comes to negotiations and that you ignore this rule at your peril. Having read "Getting More", I feel rather vindicated.
Prof. Diamond's approach is obviously not limited to negotiations with your current or prospective employer, but in this specific context it will empower you to set your career goals beyond what you initially thought would be possible.