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Home > Audio, Podcast > It is your career, after all

It is your career, after all

May 9th, 2008

Career Opportunities podcast logoIt is your career, after all
By Douglas E. Welch

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Listen: The difference between what is and what you wish it to be

Lately, when asked to describe Career Opportunities I have found that I can better describe it by what it is not. Career Opportunities isn’t about resumes, interviewing, climbing the corporate ladder or many of the topics covered in more typical career forums. I figure that there are plenty of places you can go to find that information, including one of my favorite podcasts, Manager Tools.

Instead, Career Opportunities is about you and your career. It is your career after all…nobody else’s. While so many people see their career as something that happens to them, I want you to reach out and actively manage your career. Instead of simply moving from job to job as they are presented to you, I want you to think deeply about how one job leads to another and how a series of jobs develops into a career. I want you to understand that you need to make the career decisions that are best for you, even if they might not be the best decision for your company. I want you to understand that you have a level of control over your career, despite the fact that many people who will try to convince you that you don’t.

While I have touched on many of these ideas in past columns, I wanted to take this time to explicitly discuss them and reinforce their importance to you and your career. Sometimes in the chaos that work can be, we can forget about these important rules and allow our careers to get off-track. We can allow the crisis of the moment to prevent us from making the best decisions.

Leading your career

With the current economic downturn, we can let our fears about layoffs, downsizing and outsourcing keep us in a job longer than we should. A bad job is a bad job, regardless of the economic climate. One of the worst scenarios I see at these times is someone who is working the best they can in a difficult job and then ends up on the layoff roll anyway. So not only are their producing for a company they don’t respect, they are then handed the added insult of losing a job that wasn’t even that good. They were thinking that any job was better than no job and ended up wasting time working when they could and should have been looking for a new, better career move.

You are the master, the CEO, the captain of your career and you must step up and take that responsibility.

Sure, looking for a new job in tough times requires more planning and finesse, but you certainly shouldn’t allow it to prevent you from leading your career. You have to be more careful about how you conduct your search — you don’t want to lose your current job before you are ready. You also have to make sure that your new company isn’t suffering from the same ills as your current one, whether those ills be economic or managerial. The old adage about “jumping from the frying pan into the fire”, still applies to this day.

What is best for you?

Once you find a new position, you also shouldn’t let feelings of loyalty to a company or to a manager override your career needs. Remember, this is your career. You have to live with it every day. Will your departure leave the department shorthanded? So be it. That is a problem the company must deal with on their own. You can make your departure as painless as possible, but staffing issues aren’t under your control. You have to do what is best for you and your career despite its effect on the company. Why is that? Simply, because the company will act in the same way, in their own best interest, when necessary. If your company needs to layoff 100 people, they will do it, because they must, with only limited concerns about how it might effect you.

You are the master, the CEO, the captain of your career and you must step up and take that responsibility. No one else will ever care as much about your career as you do. They are not as invested in your career as you are. They might help you along, develop your skills and provide opportunities to grow, but only you can make the, sometimes, difficult decisions that insure your career thrives and develops into the career that you deserve.


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