Taking proactive control of your career ensures that you are able to meet both your professional and personal goals. To be effective it is necessary to have a clear understanding of your “career capital” i.e. skills, experiences and potential and your personal qualities, strengths, values and motivators.
Establishing the right balance between career and personal goals is the measure of an effective plan. The workplace is changing and positioning yourself for future opportunities can seem an overwhelming priority but aim to enjoy your work and take satisfaction from a career journey, that includes good life-work balance and attention to your personal wellbeing and priorities.
Plan for success
Whether seeking a new role or simply planning ahead good career management requires preparation so that you make the right impression when networking and researching new roles., Start with a robust assessment of your skills, identify any gaps and aim to close them, think about personal branding and competitive advantages, and hone your elevator pitch.
Those who are always well prepared are always ready to take advantage of opportunities that are offered and to capitalise on potential changes in the market. This applies to those ambitious to climb the career ladder and those seeking a lateral move to improve life-work balance options.
Change is difficult for many people, we tend to like the status quo and, naturally enough, prefer to stay in our comfort zone. Growth, ambition and career progression all require self-awareness, adaptability and a willingness to explore and embrace new ways of thinking and potential opportunities. In terms of career management you must consider what is right for you and how that enables the development of career capital and personal growth while addressing career goals.
It is essential to focus on priorities and plan a sensible timescale for your career ambitions. Organisations are flatter which means depth and breadth of experience are valued in the modern workplace, aligning technical expertise with soft skills and social capital. Each individual is responsible for building the career they want and accountable for ensuring current and future employability.
More to life than work
Whatever your ambitions your personal wellbeing is equally important, apart from anything else research shows that improvement in wellbeing results in improved workplace performance. Job satisfaction and engagement play into career success and if your role does not align with your values and strengths then plan for change. If the demands of a job are particularly high that may affect your overall wellbeing especially when juggling with pressures outside of work.
The career plan you devise at 21 is likely to change as you gain experience; and, the career you want in your 40’s will, for many, be something not envisaged at the outset of the career journey. Life happens and we adjust our career priorities as circumstances change.
Many of us are taught to value a high income or certain professions over other choices but it is a very personal question as to what will offer a fulfilling life aligned with core values. Most of us will change careers several times during our working lives but it’s important to bear in mind that personal success and happiness need to be compatible with the career path you pursue.
Give and take
As ambitious youngsters we may be willing to sacrifice free time and to travel extensively in pursuit of goals that don’t suit those with families or other caring responsibilities. For many women there are times during working life when flexible hours or lateral career moves facilitate career choices.
From time to time opportunities arise that require one to relocate in order to achieve career goals, such decisions depend on how much you value an opportunity. Alternatively, it may be that career progression requires a move to a smaller organisation which will provide access to great opportunities. Most companies prefer to promote internally and reward those who show loyalty and commitment, if you can secure a role with the ideal company you may be willing to compromise on job title or remuneration. It’s a question of taking a long-term perspective in terms of finding a platform that will enables the attainment of roles you want in the future.
Success will always come at price, and each of us must evaluate career objectives and the measures we are prepared to take in order to fulfil ambitions and facilitate personal development. Levels of ambition, desire for rewards, and motivators differ for each individual and it’s important to decide whether the rewards outweigh any sacrifices you may have make. A career plan is not set in stone, so adjust the plan to fit your needs.
There is more to life than work and career and personal life form part of an integrated whole where success is defined by more than just your job title.