Do you have a career plan?
The likelihood of most of us sitting down every year with a professional career coach to create an annual career strategy is about as great as chocolate cream cake becoming a zero calorie dessert any time soon. No one would think of having a medical with an unqualified doctor or getting their cars serviced at an unauthorised garage. Yet many casually stick their heads out of their pods and ask their colleagues, spouses, pub buddies, friends or family members for definitive input on what are potentially important career questions.
Do you go with the flow?
Most of us have a very casual, laissez -faire, “trust in the moment” attitude to our careers, especially if we enjoy our jobs and are professionally satisfied. Careers quite often move along at their own pace with perhaps some superficial input at an annual performance appraisal. But few organisations are progressive enough to have meaningful appraisal systems that they actually implement.
In our lives we maintain our cars, our gardens, our health and our homes, yet we rarely maintain our careers.
Until of course there is a problem or we get stuck.
Then, in response to a glitch or unexpected situation we frantically update our CVs, reach into our network to call “what’s his name” and desperately try to set up some sort of online presence. So even if we are sublimely happy (and perhaps even more so) every one of us should have a career or professional plan.
There is a fine line between complacency and contentment.
Here is my helpful acronym that illustrates why:
P is for PURPOSE – Create goals “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible” said Tony Robbins. If you go through this process with a professional career coach so much the better.
L is for LEARN – learn and understand your transferable skills and strengths. They will thread through your careers like a string of pearls and will become invaluable confidence builders and key to your overall plan. The workplace is changing at a phenomenal pace and skills become quickly outdated. Ongoing life and professional learning should be a key component in our career plans. .
A is for ANALYSIS – in any S.W.O.T. analysis identifying opportunities and development needs will be very significant. People who know what they are good at and have identified any skill shortfall are almost always excellent managers and leaders. Set up training programmes and create strategic alliances and network contacts in line with your longer term goals. Ask what can you do for those connections before an issue arises. If any crisis does occur “what’s his name” will be someone you can contact without embarrassment and who will be happy to return your call.
N is for NAME – naming and articulating your success stories and goals and creating a plan boosts a dream or a wish into a reality. In today’s complex workplace even the most successful, competent and content among us have set- backs. Knowing the steps that underpin a career plan make it so much easier to be flexible and re-evaluate in the light of new circumstances and change direction if we need to. Having the skills and experience to create and implement a plan will help you get beyond any negative situation.
So do you have a career P.L.A.N.?