When your relationship at work becomes toxic that you don’t see the forest from the trees anymore, it’s definitely time to go. I know how that feels: when you literally drag yourself going to work, when each little thing becomes aggravating, and when you get so unhappy at the end of each day knowing you’d do it again the next day. I’ve been there done that; until one day, I realized that the door was always open for me to leave. It was not the job that’s making me miserable. It was me having no choice.
This is why I’m passionate about spreading the gospel of self-managed career development. Career is a journey, not a destination. It is a process, not an end result. Looking at your career as a flow of opportunities within and without your organization, you cannot afford to be complacent. Each work assignment is a stepping-stone to the next opportunity. Each position should bridge you to the next.
I don’t know about you but I like reading the news and getting updated on world and domestic events both in business and in politics. They give me ideas on new business opportunities and keep me posted on trends that affect work and careers. Take the time to watch at least the 30-minute world news every night and subscribe to online newsfeeds from various sources and thought leaders. This will allow you to follow developments that will impact your current work and future career plans.
As Edward De Bono proposes in his lateral thinking theory, wear your green hat and look at the non-linear possibilities in your career development. How is your field expanding? How is your line of work developing and merging with other fields. There could be some untapped blend of competencies that only you might possess, which you can leverage on for promotion. There might be an untapped segment of end-users that nobody has thought of serving as of yet. Don’t limit yourself to a singular or few career paths. Be open to opportunities for merging skills and abilities to render a new kind of offering to your current or prospective employers.
Set a timeline for your job tenure and set a deadline when you are leaving a specific position to get to another. It should all be a part of the career design that is your handiwork. Don’t wait for the employer to kick you out in the curb or decide when you are no longer useful. Constantly leverage your value and prove yourself valuable. That’s how other employers notice you or that’s how you get noticed in your company to get promoted. Of course, it’s easier said than done but do it anyway.
Finally, organize your work and career development efforts. Have a plan, which could either be rough or refined, long-term or short-term. Have a vision of what you’d want to be when you grow up or what you’d want to be doing in the far future. Let this vision guide you through your career choices and strategies. Connect yourself to the right people who would get you there and nurture relationships with them. Surround yourself with positive people who would be supportive of your efforts either materially or morally. The last thing you’d want to hear when you’re aspiring for something is “No, you can’t do that.” or “No, you’re not good enough.”
Constantly evaluate where you are now, where have you been, what took you to get here, what worked, what didn’t work, where you’d want to be moving forward, and how you’re going to get there.
All the best to your career.