Managing Your Career

by Barbara Buffton

What does it mean – managing your career?

Pause for thought...

What would your life be like if you got paid to do what you do best and what you really enjoy?

For the individual

There was a time when the company you worked for decided what career moves you made and when. People normally specialised in one area and more or less stayed put doing roughly the same job/career for their entire working lives. Nowadays, we have many more choices available to us. And your company is no longer likely to make your career decisions for you.

For this reason, it is vital that you become proactive about your career. It should not just be allowed to happen. You have to take charge of it yourself as it’s unlikely that anyone will ever care more about your career than you do.

Companies necessarily tend to have different priorities from those of individual members of staff. Although it’s true that any organisation that ignores the ambitions and talents of individuals will have a hard job keeping them motivated and productive, it is also true that the employee is still primarily responsible for his or her career.

Warning

If you don’t take charge of your own career, you risk ending up in a job you don’t like (or even hate). What a waste – for you and your company!

Managing your career involves

  • Learning about other developments and opportunities – so that you are in a better position to ensure you’re in the right place at the right time
  • Keeping up to date professionally, by reading journals, books, and articles related to your work – this puts you in a good position for any career development opportunities that might come your way
  • Talking to your employer about your career development – so that he or she can also look out for you
  • Taking action if you want to change things!

For the employer

Workplace boredom is a major reason why employees leave organisations – or worse still, stay in the organisation, but produce the minimum amount of work to the minimum standard. If you, as their line manager, fail to take steps to remedy this, you run the risk of losing talented staff, physically or psychologically (in other words, they are present only in body, not in mind). You would be better discussing with them how best to motivate them or re-engage them in their work. Such a discussion should include their career development.

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.

Jim Rohn