If you had the chance to reset the clock and start your career all over again, what would you do differently? How would you change the way you approach your work? Would you be in the same field? Would you work for the same company?
I have often looked back on my career and saw each move as a strategic career decision. I carefully played risk that was the best fit for me at the time. Not every move I made played out the way I would have liked, but I came away from each one with important lessons. Lessons that stick with me through today. Lessons that make me a darned good career coach, and business school professor. I also learned to build a strong network that I can rely on to help me if needed.
There’s no “perfect” career. Each has its own issues and challenges. Each one has risks and rewards. But the questions I opened this blog posting with are still relevant as you think about where you are today and where you want to be in the future. You need to see each step in your career as an opportunity to learn, a chance to develop new skills and to challenge yourself.
Once that challenge goes away, it’s time for you to go too. You need to find what motivates you, find your signature strengths, seek out your passions and use them to create a career that you can look back on fondly.
I talk all the time about organizations building an engaged employee workforce. That is not to discount the fact that employees are equally as important in how that engagement plays out. If you’re not feeling challenged or engaged, it’s time to start pushing for more. You need to take accountability to raise issues and help push your career forward. Do not use the “hope my career works out for the best” approach. Unless you are seeking career disappointment.
Company loyalty went away in the late 70’s. This has freed up movement in the labor markets and for good reason. If a company isn’t loyal to you, should you be loyal to it? It all depends on how you define loyalty and what keeps you engaged in your work.
The job market is starting to open back up. If you’re not where you want to be, you have the chance to make a change. Don’t change for change sake, but be strategic about it. Your next move should set you up for your next two moves.
Take the time to reflect now on where you are, be thoughtful about your plan of action, and be ready because opportunity awaits.
But you need to find your opportunity … don’t wait for it to find you!