Your career is about YOU! – Podcast

Career Opportunities podcast logoYou may have noticed over the years that I don’t write about typical career-related topics here on Career Opportunities. Where other columns might focus on resumes or interview skills, I prefer to talk about how your career relates to you, your needs and your goals. Too often I think we forget the a career is a very personal thing. It isn’t some academic process that happens to someone else. It happens to you. You have to live with your career, day after day, so shouldn’t you be building the career you deserve?


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When we talk about careers we tend to focus on the external factors. How can I perfectly answer that tough interview question? How can I mold myself into someone this company will want to hire? How will our boss feel about this action? Will the company have issues with that? To my eye, we spend entirely too much time trying to satisfy external forces and factors and too little looking out for ourselves. The true success of your career is how much you gain from it, not how much others gain from you. Sure there should be a balance, but in most career situations we err on the side of pleasing our employer instead of pleasing ourselves.

This can get lost sometimes among the pressures of work. We can become so desperate to keep a job, any job, that we will do things against our own best interest. We will work ourselves into the ground. We will do only the barest minimum of work to remain employed. We will turn off our minds at work, trying not to notice how deadening the work has become. Do you recognize yourself in this description? I know there have been times in my own career where I have felt this way and I am sure you have experienced them, too. Recognize them for what they are — clear signs that something has to change. Then, go about making that change. It can be hard, but it is so basic to building the career you deserve.

Again, you must remember that your career is about you. No one else can, or should, make your career decisions for you. You are the one who must live with your career, so you should be the one directing that career. Sure, you can and should ask for guidance and advice, but beware hidden agendas of those who might be counseling you. A manager might try to convince to remain simply because she doesn’t want to got through the hassle of replacing you. Your family might tell you to “suck it up” rather than risk the uncertainty of a new job or career. Friends might discount a new job offer out of envy or indifference. Seek out those who truly support you in your career. Consider their advice carefully — then decide on your own.

Only you can make the final decisions in your career. You might seek to place the blame elsewhere, but in the end the finger points directly back at you. If you let others decide your career fate, they will. They have their own agenda, their own needs, their own desires. They will decide what is best for them, not for you.

So, what career decisions have you been abdicating? Which decisions have you allowed others to make for you? It’s time to take control and build the career that is best for you. It isn’t about this job, this company or even this particular career — it is about you, your wants, needs and desires. Once you realize this, you will find yourself on the path to a great career.

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