I have great news to share with you! There is great opportunity ahead for you to take ownership of your career. All you need to start with is a desire to do so and a realization that job security doesn’t lie within a company or a boss, it lies within you. I’ve always believed that you own your career and I believe it more today than ever before.
Job security lies within you, not a company.
Let’s take a look at the difference between a career and a job. When you think “career” as opposed to “job” you are more likely to get serious! After all, “career” suggests a long-term involvement and promising rewards. The first step is to do an analysis. I’ll share with you the steps it takes (an action plan) to figuring out what you want out of your career and the questions you need to ask yourself (and act on) to get yourself there.
WARNING: This will take a little time (and action) on your part, but you will reap rewards for doing so.
Are you ready to take big actions for career ownership?
Step 1: Career Analysis
A sampling of questions to ask yourself as you begin to analyze your career.
- Where do you want to be in 1 year? 3 years? 5 years?
- What are you good at (e.g., cooperating with others, working alone, communicating, moving from place to place as opposed to reporting to an office day in/day out)?
- What type of industry would you enjoy working in?
- How much are you willing to invest in your future (e.g., staying late, continuing formal education or job training)?
- Do you want to move out of the profession some day?
- Do you want to look for other opportunities in your current company (whether in the administrative profession or not)?
The next step involves identifying roadblocks. If you make a plan for your career, you can count on hitting roadblocks. They come in the form of people, money, education, family, bosses, friends, and your own thinking. Your goal is to anticipate what might be hampering your movement now or in the future and plan how to work around those.
Step 2: Identify & Evaluate Roadblocks
The following questions serve as a starting point toward identifying your career roadblocks.
- What are some obstacles that stand in your way to being more productive?
- What is one thing you would like your executive to: do, stop doing, or do more often? (e.g., praise my performance, offer constructive criticism, and keep me better informed about things in general).
- What strengths do you bring to your role and executive?
- What areas do you think you need to develop?
Step 3: Career Navigation
Part of being professional is setting goals and navigating your career. Determining goals, stating them clearly and creating a plan are the hardest tasks for individuals. Many people don’t get what they want; or achieve their career goals because it takes work! Once you determine what you want and write your plan, the road gets a little easier. But you have to learn how to implement the plan, monitor your progress, and overcome barriers. The benefits derived can be said in simple terms: “If you don’t plan where you want to go, you will go wherever life and others take you. And that may not be where you want to end up!”
When you take charge of your career, you will feel fulfilled. You will also know how to reroute yourself when things at work aren’t going your way; how to get back on course when changes occur at work, such as a partner leaving the company, or the company downsizes. And, don’t forget to add retirement planning to your map. If you’re at the beginning of your career, this may not enter your thoughts. Clearly, a plan needs to be tweaked or edited as time goes by. Remember to include the editing process in your plan as you move forward.
- You can create your career within your current position. Maybe you don’t want to move up or out of your area. Look for ways to expand your role. Take on new projects, use your creativity to make your job more interesting, and remember to look for ways to streamline processes.
- Remember, job security lies within you, not within the company.
- If you continually develop yourself, grow, and expand your talents, you will maintain marketability and have a competitive edge.
- Use every learning resource available whether it is a book, DVD or audio program, formal schooling, seminars, or the internet.