For the Life of Your Career, Not Just the Job You're In
Technology, globalization and the pace of change continue to be drivers for independent career management. Work environments and the way in which we work and think about work continue to change at an accelerated pace. Career management is also changing. Savvy professionals realize that they (not their employers) are responsible for their careers and professional development. Effective career management is about owning your professional development for the life of your career, not just the job you’re in. Employment trends have accelerated during the past few years. Are you ready to survive and thrive in these new times?
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For the Life of Your Career, Not Just the Job You’re In
Many of us have been taught to believe it’s best for us to simply work hard, go to school, get a good job and raise a family. And for many, this is a most rewarding path to follow. Throughout our lives we may meet people who are quite passionate about what they do. You may know people who are widely successful and have fulfilling careers that provide a certain amount of financial security for their families. Perhaps you are one of these people. If you’re not, you may wonder how this seems to happen to some people and not others. While a lot can be said for being naturally talented, receiving a quality education, and other factors that impact opportunities, equally important is what we as individuals do to influence our careers.
We define what success means to us. For some, success may mean having a good job, being able to save for retirement, putting children through college, or taking a vacation every year. For others, success may involve climbing the corporate ladder, being promoted every few years, or being involved in community or charitable groups.
Each of us has a choice, accept what happens in our careers or take actions that position us for success.
So are you happy with the path you’re on? Do you find your work fulfilling? Perhaps you’re content with the role you’re currently in but you’re terrified of losing your job given the current state of the economy. If you’re unfulfilled, anxious, or simply want to prepare yourself for the next career opportunity, I suggest you join me in a journey of exploration, discovery, and action. By focusing on your professional development and being able to communicate your value to others, you position yourself to be exceptional. Exceptional individuals attract attention and opportunities. It’s really quite simple. What do you have to lose?
To say that it’s important to proactively manage your individual professional development is an understatement. Recognize the value in understanding your strengths and weaknesses independent of your work environment. Yes, consider and explore the feedback provided by your management but also consider your performance and the feedback you receive from the other areas in which you engage professionally.
Do you volunteer in your community, serve on a board, coach a team or participate in other activities? These activities most likely influence your professional performance. Now consider the extent to which these abilities are used within your work environment. Your performance outside of your work environment influences your performance in your work environment so why not leverage it?
Are you performing at maximum capacity, missing opportunities, or simply letting the “system” influence your performance and perhaps ultimately, your career? There’s never been a better time to “own it” and proactively improve your performance.
Networking should be a natural part of what you do as a professional, although it isn’t natural for many. Networking is important before and during job searches. Do you have a network of professionals who know you for your ability to use your skills in a variety of roles across industries?
Remember it’s not just who you know—it’s who knows you and what you’re capable of. If cutbacks were to occur at your company, would they avoid letting you go?
Are you someone who does a “good” job but isn’t well known? Can you really afford not to position yourself for being known for the work you’ve done and for the work you’re capable of? Start to enrich and grow your network today. Learn more about improving your marketability here.
(Disclaimer: I am not recommending that you quit your job. I am recommending that you consider your mission.)
Tuesday Strong writes on career management using proactive talent development and personal branding techniques leveraged by technology. Tuesday offers integrated solutions in career planning, goal setting, personal marketing plans, and social networking strategies.