Any time people talk about their careers, familiar expressions like:
“My career goals”, “Career path”, “Career development”, “Career direction” etc usually come to mind. These expressions have one reasoning in common “the concept that a career is something that has an entity or existence of its own, that it’s something out there, a place or a destination or a means to reach a better place”.
If we think of a career in these terms, there are a number of hazards and influences that can throw a career off course. Career goals may conflict or be frustrated by other kinds of goals such as the demands of a busy family, academic pursuit or social life. The career path may have to wind its way through other tempting highways and byways. Career development may be stunted by a particular work environment that is hostile to its growth. A career direction may turn into a dead end if a new technology emerges.
Any one of these events can turn into a career threatening influence. And when they do, we can absolve ourselves of blame. ‘The organization didn’t support my career goals’. ‘I was poorly advised and took the wrong career path’. ‘My career development was blocked by a lack of funding for training and development’. ‘My career direction was influenced by circumstances beyond my control’. ‘The boss didn’t appreciate me, he hates me and never encouraged me to grow in my chosen career.’
If we think of our career as something out there, over there, at the end of the rainbow or whatever, there will always be something or someone else we can blame for its demise.
Here’s something for you to consider. If you must excel, “Take Control of Your Career.”
How do you do this?
o Consider that you are your career. Your career is who you are, here and now in this place. Everything about you; your competencies, your habits, your appearance, your education, your communication style, your relationships, your lifestyle, habits etc. All of these are attributes of you and comprise your career. Your career is who you are, what makes you unique as a person and as a worker.
Take a moment to reflect on this. How is your career going? Does it want to leap out of bed in the morning and rush itself off to the workplace to engage in something passionate and rewarding? Or is it somewhat self-conscious and inclined to waste of time and daydream of a safer or more interesting place along the way? How do others respond to its presence in the workplace? Do they look up to it, seek its advice and applaud its successes or do they seem a bit dissatisfied with its performance?
o Another way to look at this is to imagine your career as your brand. How would you market your brand? What are its best attributes? What can it do better than any competing brands? In what kind of environment will your brand add the most value to an organization? Do you need to enhance any features of your brand to improve its visibility and appeal in the marketplace? How do you better position your brand to attract customers? Do people around you know that the brand (you) exists? How do you price your brand? How do you distribute your brand?
You can take control of your career. Your future is not ‘out there’. Your destiny is embedded in who you are, who you choose to be today and on each and every day to come. Take care of your brand. It’s your most valuable asset. Remember, What ever name you call your dog, that is what it will answer.