Think of pursuing a career like driving a car. First, you start with a learner’s permit. Under supervision, you get to learn the ropes of how it is to be behind the wheel. Once you get the hang of it, you will receive a license to drive. Now, you’re the one in control. You’re responsible for keeping yourself and others safe on the road. You’re accountable for steering the car in the right direction.
If you screw up, there will be repercussions and penalties. If you drive right, you will find yourself in the destination you planned from the get-go.
The bottom line is that you need to be in control. You need to differentiate a job from a career. The latter requires the utmost commitment. Here’s how to ensure that your career follows the path that will take you to your end goal.
Set clear goals
All activities worth pursuing are guided by specific goals. A goal-less activity is a waste of time. As for your career, the only way for it to advance is if you have clear goals set. Those goals should come with specific action plans.
Goal setting requires introspection. It’s not something you can pattern from someone else’s career playbook. You need to have your own short-term and long-term plans.
Sure, your plans might take some detours along the way. That’s okay so long as you keep moving forward and you stay focused on that which you desire to reach.
Do not stop learning
Whenever your office offers free training, volunteer to participate. Do not shy away from learning opportunities initiated outside of your workplace as well. If you come across community initiatives geared toward educating professionals, sign up.
The more you learn, the more fuel you have in the tank. Your work performance is bound to improve. And that will take you places.
There’s nothing more frustrating for a manager than having a stagnant employee in the team. That’s the last thing you want to be, someone who seems to lack ambition. Managers will not go out of their way to promote someone who comes across as they’d rather be elsewhere.
Whenever you get the opportunity to network, do so. At company-wide events, talk with colleagues from other departments. Get to know your supervisors. If you get to exchange a few words with the CEO, you’re doing a great job.
Expand your networking outside the company. If you regularly correspond with clients or suppliers, take that relationship to the next level by building rapport. Strike up a friendship.
Think of networking as expanding your horizons. Meeting new people equates to accumulating potential opportunities. You never know which of these opportunities will come in handy.
Communicate with your supervisor
Do not avoid feedback. In fact, you must go after it. Ask your immediate supervisor where you excel and where you need improvement. That level of transparency will only be beneficial to you. You will be able to adjust your performance accordingly.
Also, ask your supervisor what their plan is concerning your career. You deserve to know if there’s a clear career path for you in the company. That’s something you need to get a grasp on early in the game. Otherwise, you might find yourself having dedicated a decade to a job where there’s no promotion in the offing.
Know when it’s time to move on
Look at where you are. Are you satisfied with the trajectory of your career? If you answer in the affirmative, keep at it. Otherwise, it’s time you look at other opportunities. Leaving a company is not always a sign of failure. Sometimes it can lead to better possibilities.
This is where you reap the rewards of all the networking you’ve done. Reach out to people who can give you professional leads. Always express gratitude for the favors you receive from colleagues. And whenever transitioning from one work to another, never burn bridges. ;
Wing it til you make it is not the best mantra to follow when it comes to your career. You need the drive and dedication to turn your profession as fulfilling and rewarding as possible. You must be willing to go the distance in terms of performance. That will set you apart from your colleagues.
When opportunities present themselves, do not make a U-turn. Grab them and meet them head-on. Keep reminding yourself of where you want to end up. Stay focused. Collect all the right tickets on the way to that corner office.