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This is the first in a series of 6 posts regarding career development planning. Other posts can be found here.
Any worthwhile journey requires planning and navigation skills. The same holds for your career journey. First and foremost, you need a destination in mind. What is your vision for a “best fit” career? Does it match your criteria of company culture, work environment, and opportunities for advancement? Most importantly, does it match your natural abilities, values, skills, financial requirements, interests, and purpose? There is much to consider before you begin searching for and applying for a new career.
Ready to Spend 70,000 Hours?
A career is more than a place to spend your time and bring home a paycheck. Consider that your job will consume more than 60,000 hours of your life (assuming a ten-hour work schedule, including commuting time). Add in time to get ready for work, likely overtime, off-hour company calls and meetings, etc. and the total can exceed 70,000 hours of your life in a thirty-year career. What else could you do with those 70,000 hours? What else would you like to do with those 70,000 hours?
Plan Your Career
Your time on earth is your ultimate storehouse of value. How you decide to use it will largely determine your overall satisfaction in life and financial well being. It makes sense then to plan your career pathway by considering:
- Your unique combination of parameters including abilities, skills, interests, values, background, goals, personal style, and career experience (who you are);
- How your combination of parameters help you identify and select “best fit” career options (what you want to become), and
- Your purpose in life (what is important to you and the impact you desire to leave on the world).
Ask yourself, “When was the last time I approached my career thinking about these things?”. Could it be that a lack of “career navigation” has lead to a career pathway that does not meet your needs and expectations? The good news is that you can make a “course correction!” However, don’t wait too long to start!
Every day you delay the process of a career course correction means spending some of those 70,000 hours of your life devoted to a job you don’t love and lost earnings. While your time is your ultimate storehouse of value, your career becomes your most significant financial asset. You build your financial asset by transforming your “human capital” (knowledge, abilities, experience, etc.) into “financial capital” (income, savings & investments), allowing you the freedom to live life on your terms!
Four Key Steps
The “Pathway to a Successful & Satisfying Career” includes four key steps, including:
- Campaign, and
- Ongoing Reflection & Transformation
The Pathway to a Successful & Satisfying Career all begins with the Assessment Phase. The Assessment phase is the use of tools to help you identify your unique parameters, including your abilities, skills, interests, values, background, goals, personal style, and career experience. This phase should include the use of objective methods (valid and reliable measurement – not “self-reported”) and subjective methods (self-reported or how you “feel” about something). Ideally, the assessment also includes help from a trained coach or counselor to help you gain a better understanding of your unique parameters.
The Alignment phase is where the magic happens! We apply what you learned about yourself in the Assessment Phase and align your personal life with your career life. The culmination of your work is the creation of a career vision statement. You use your career vision statement to help people help you get what you want! Consider your career vision statement your “30-second elevator pitch” and clearly articulates your ultimate destination and your value to potential employers (or clients if your goal is to self-employed).
The Campaign phase is just what it implies, the creation and execution of an action plan to put yourself in a position with the ultimate decisionmakers to land your chosen career with your targeted company. Most people start with the Campaign Phase to their detriment. Without the effort to complete the Assessment and Discovery & Creation phases, you don’t understand your “best fit” destination in terms of career satisfaction and potential financial well-being. You fall into the ongoing trap of looking for a job to pay the bills and hope, “this time, it’s different.” The outcome won’t be different unless you follow a different path!
Ongoing Reflection & Transformation Phase
Congratulations! You have achieved your dream career! However, your work is not over! Career development requires an Ongoing Reflection & Transformation phase. Each year you should assess your career development and match it up with your unique parameters. Ask yourself, “What’s changed?” “Do I feel the same about my career?” “What changes should I consider to keep me on the right path?” You will find your Assessment work a critical source of information to refine your career development path and career vision statement.
Subsequent posts will go into greater detail of each step of the pathway, so stay tuned. In the meantime, where are you along the path? If you need help, a process to follow, or a source of subtle but effective accountability, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit my website, https://www.cfpathways.com, for more information.