What will you be doing at the end of 2019?
How you answer this question not only reveals your intentions but also shows whether you're steering your career, or placing your faith in unreliable forces, such as 'the universe'.
A good answer might be something like …
I'm happy to stay in my current role. I get to do cool things, I like my colleagues and the environment, the money's fine - and it’s a good fit for my lifestyle. I’ll keep on top of professional development, but otherwise will stay where I am.
I'll be in a new role with my current company. The work here is really interesting, the leadership is good and there’s plenty of scope for me career wise. I'm active in career conversations and there’s a couple of genuine options coming up - I expect a move to my next role in first quarter of 2019.
I'll be doing an expanded role in a different company. I love my work, but keen to be in a place where I can have more impact. I've done my research, commenced networking and will be active in the job market from February. I’m prepared for it to take 6+ months to find an opening in the right environment.
I’m not sure, but actively working with people I trust who are helping me get clear on my thinking and approach
Strong responses, right? Managing your career isn’t about mantras, hopes or positive thinking - it’s a whole lot about commitment, preparation and action, and it’s not always easy.
Career passivity seems much more comfortable, but it’s deceptive … it might feel like you’re doing very, very important, busy work, and you’ll say something like:
I’m just focusing on my work / I’m not into office politics /
I don’t have time to network
but ends up sounding like:
I’m out of touch with the market / I’ve no idea how to find another job /
I’m underpaid / I’m not valued / I’ll never get promoted/ I’m stuck
Given the effort you put into making money, why would you not want to do what you can to shape the environment to maximise rewards and job satisfaction.
Get clarity on your direction - this focus will form part of career conversations and activities. You'll become alert to information and opportunities that support your direct. (You know about my workshop?).
Have a current Resume - they're easy documents to let slide, but an up-to-date resume is essential preparation for opportunities as well as career communication.
Know who can, and will, help you. Being clear on your network, including colleagues, mentors, recruiters, professional connections will benefit you if and when you need to draw on them for research, advice or active support
Have a Professional Development Plan. Know what you are going to learn this year and why. Qualifications are valuable but knowledge and experience are essential, so get clear on where you want and need to skill up. Melinda Livingstone wrote a great piece on how to keep your skills current.
Stay on top of your research - that includes what your role looks like in other companyies, career pathing, salary information, market news, industry and professional shifts.
Create a realistic plan for how you're going to achieve this year's career intention, and act on it.
Managing your career is an attitude, an approach, where you are make and act on decisions based on how you want your career to be.
Please send me a email if you have any career-related question, or talk about steering your career in 2019.
I also wrote about career goals last year
Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash