Who's in the driving seat of your career?
Posted on 6th March 2017 at 00:11
FORGET ANYONE ELSE, WHAT CAN “I” DO ABOUT “MY” CAREER PATH?
If you want to feel in control and empowered about your career progression, read on to find out what you can do. You’re smart – so how can you tap into yourself to ensure you have the career you really want?
I have interviewed and coached professionals at all levels for over 15 years and a deeper level of questioning by me has often revealed a common notion that one’s boss/employer is expected to put in place the steps required to further one’s career journey. The reality is that it is you that is in charge. It is you who can, and should, be active in your personal career progression whether you are a junior lawyer, a manager, teacher, partner, whatever your calling.
SOME SCENARIOS I HAVE COME ACROSS INCLUDE:
Hanging on for a promotion because the boss or line manager has made positive sounds –but it’s been over a year now
Remaining in a role for fear of “missing out” on a potential gap when someone else in line leaves; you think you “see” an opening internally
Permitting the status quo to continue so as not to cause team politics or ignoring current team issues that leave one lagging behind
Working hard, rather than smart, and expecting recognition and promotion
Fear of starting a new role in a new environment yet expecting career development when, on deeper reflection, it’s clearly unlikely
Fear that you will be “caught out” – lack of confidence in abilities and business development skills in spite of proof to the contrary
A lack of understanding of what opportunities are actually available and therefore staying in a role that is no longer rewarding
This should not come as a shock, rather as a welcome revelation that you have the power to make things happen. I believe that most of us are generous in the time we give any employer or business to assist us in our career development and, on occasion, the promotion or role change we seek does indeed surface. For many however, having given it 3-6 months for such development seems enough to start wondering “Is my promotion ever coming?” or “When will I be able to further develop my clients here if my firm doesn’t support me?” Alternatively, “Is this really what I want to be doing for the rest of my life?”
You have every right to take control to further enhance your career and when you do it wholeheartedly you will have a lifetime of skills that ensure consistent career progression.
So, what can you do about your career path?
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS FOR THE YOUNGER AUDIENCE:
Observe what is going on in your organisation in relation to promotions. Do you like what you see? Is there a structure that allows you to see that you have a path or can create one?
Remember that any organisation has its internal issues, good and bad. Structural issues may suggest there is no room for you to be in the role you aspire to in 2 years’ time – observe this yet make it known to those who matter that you are ambitious. Ask yourself what is the history of promotions and departures.
Observe how many other workers there are at levels similar to you. Depending on the size and ethos of your organisation, what does this tell you?
Talk to colleagues more senior to yourself. Ask them about their career progress, their history and what they like about their job. Make friends with them, talk to them about how they came to the organisation and why it appeals.
Ask senior personnel directly where they see the organisation going and whether it’s a good place for people like you to grow. Ask for a coffee or lunch date. Find something to go in with as a point of interest, perhaps a project they worked on or a contract they drew up.
Be positive, proactive, assertive and friendly when talking to others around you especially those who are in charge of career development. Be visible. Make noise.
Reflect once a week, for at least a month, on whether you are doing what you really want to and the reality of doing what you want either elsewhere or, if you have an entrepreneurial streak, in your own start-up business. A pros and cons list and SWOT analysis can actually help here.
AND FOR THOSE MORE SENIOR, IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE:
“Connect” with one or two more senior executives or directors (even the CFO or CEO) on a level beyond work. Do you share an interest in the same football, cricket or rugby team or a love for theatre, golf or cookery? Could you enjoy a match or class together?
Network internally and externally. It is essential to start networking in your career as early as possible. Share what you are doing with your seniors and, if you’re doing it right, you’ll be noticed. If suitable in your line of work, inform your boss that you’d like to take a potential client or business partner to lunch but understand the purpose of such an engagement.
Offer to organise and participate in seminars and workshops even if it takes you beyond your day job hours. Suggest a joint marketing event with an external provider, supplier, client or trainer which brings the two closer together.
Keep a record of your achievements and successes, client praises etc. Share this with your boss and ask for their comment – let them acknowledge your contribution.
So, who’s in the driving seat?
If you’d like to find out more about what you can do, you can contact Anita at Evolution for a
complimentary consultation. Good luck!
© Anita Gohil-Thorp
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