Providing coaching assistance to C-Level executives in the areas of management, leadership, career planning and team building,
Who’s in charge of your career?
You, of course.
If it doesn’t feel like it and you’ve begun to ask yourself how you got here and where you want to go, you’ve come to the right place.
You were hired to do what you do best. You are paid to achieve results. With it comes recognition, a pay raise and possibly even stock options. If you are outstanding, a ticker tape parade in the hallway. In the early phases of your career, that matters. You are motivated. Goal-oriented. However, over time, money and the perks associated with your status may no longer be an incentive.
Your needs are changing. Moreover, if you’re not in control, motivation and self-esteem will often hit the skids.
Consider a career plan. It’s your GPS to help navigate the waters of your working life.
Assessing your skills, strengths, and needs is an investment in your life that will pay dividends in renewed confidence and self-direction. You will know where you are and where you are going.
First, discover what career phase you are in now.
As a coach to executives, I can always tell what career phase my employed clients are in by using this tool. I typically have one or both of the following conversations every two to three weeks:
Question: “What did you do for the company this week?”
The answer is typically a list of accomplishments and successes.
Question: “Besides a paycheck, what did the company do for you?”
Usually, this answer is much shorter. The client struggles to describe what they learned or experienced. Some will say, “I had a busy two weeks. I didn’t think about it much.”
In an ideal world, the give and take between a company and their employee should be about equal, 50-50.
Unfortunately, what clients have shared with me is closer to a 90/10 split. 90% of the compensation is coming from the employee. The verdict: don’t bank on your company as a source to resuscitate your drive to learn and grow.
In which career phase do you see yourself?
You are considered a newbie with a high learning curve. Moreover, you are blazing with confidence and a drive to get ahead. The job will test your mettle and learning capacity. As your successes multiply, so does external credibility. The money is OK.
You are viewed as capable but still learning. Confidence and ambition are accelerating. The organization sees you as an “up-and-coming player.” You’re growing into your identity and career. With more accomplishments and experience, your salary increases.
You are proficient and are on the cusp of mastery. Learning inspires you, but at a slower pace. The once fierce drive to succeed may waiver. Management and your peers perceive you as credible and “right up there.” Your compensation surges.
You have arrived. However, the glory of a fat salary, promotions and the fulfillment of your status as a subject matter expert are in the rearview mirror. There may be a sense of emptiness. Motivation and drive are a mere trickle. You have a desire to change jobs, but you believe the choices are few. Moreover, those options always pale in favor of the comfortable status quo.
Resentment, boredom and isolation have eclipsed the hunger to grow and learn, and a sense of feeling trapped has emerged. The idea of leveraging your expertise is abhorrent to you, regardless of the money. This emotional turmoil can bleed into your personal life.
Have you have found yourself in one of the five phases? That’s a start! Knowing where you are and who you are is critical to taking charge of the next step in your career. Your employer may or may not be able to support your growth. A competitor of theirs may appreciate not only what you have accomplished but also where you want to go in your career.
With a career plan, you are in the driver’s seat.
When is the best time to start planning the next move? The easy answer is any time, but I recommend the third phase.
Why? Because you have the time to carefully look for your next position as a “passive candidate.” Your focus is on your next move. You are in a much stronger place career-wise. You are not running from a dangerous situation.
Note to employers: The old days of using “golden handcuffs” to keep critical employees are going the way of the dinosaur. A talented professional is motivated to keep learning and developing. I suggest that you sit down with each employee and request a career plan. Strike a delicate balance between the goals of the company and the employee.
It takes some courage for each of us to look at the truth of what is best for the company and what is best for a career.
In the final analysis, everyone wins.