There are many ways of accidentally becoming the owner of a bad career. On the other side, there are some tough decisions to take to ensure a good career. All one needs is someone to show you the right career path to take. This ‘direction’ can come from anyone. You could play a career counsellor to yourself and advise yourself what is good and bad for you. Your manager at your office, if he or she is on good terms, can become your career counsellor.
Alternatively, you could engage a professional career counsellor to help you out. Until you find someone to help you out, there are some great tips that are shared here to get you moving in the right direction.
In all likelihood, you are currently employed and for all we know, you are happy with what the job has to offer. It pays you well and your working environment works out just great. The key question to ask here is how well does the job satisfy you, and the place in its future growth for you? If you are unable to come up with a very specific answer, this is an indication that you have a great job but not a good career.
Here is a simple illustration of that. Let us suppose that you are currently employed with a firm that makes you work for a little more than a dozen hours every day. You are in your early twenties and your general enthusiasm does not let you complain and in fact you welcome the long working hours. The job pays well and the chance of earning more in the future looks good. However, does this sound like a career path to you? Speed ahead ten years and picture yourself doing the same thing.
Ten years later, you are in your early thirties and you are probably a family man or woman. Would working more than twelve hours a day work for you? You are making a lot of money but how will that help, if you don’t have time to spend with your family? This is a personal life requirement but so is work life. Work life and personal life have to be balanced and that is an important part of your career discussion.
Likewise, you have certain goals about what your future life and hence, your job entails. If you are already unhappy with your job, then you will have to start looking elsewhere as things stand. If you are currently happy, even then, you should still think about the future and act accordingly.
Depending on how much of a head start you have with your career planning and how good the plan is, you will realise that there are a lot of obstacles that prevent you from reaching your goal. These obstacles should be part of your career planning. The career should include plans about how you are going to overcome them.
The two obstacles that are affect a lot of working folks are current financial responsibilities and educational qualifications.
A lot of us don’t like to take risks by changing jobs because we have one or the other financial obligation. It could be the responsibility to raise a family, or a mortgage payment or credit card bills. These financial obligations will need to be sorted out at the earliest. The reasoning is that once you have taken care of your financial obligations, you will be more willing to take risks with your career. When you have weight tied to your legs, it is difficult to swim. Lose these weights that are dragging you down and you are free to try new things.
Educational qualifications, or more specifically, skill sets that will increase your employment ratings, are another challenge. The biggest problem with education, particularly at a higher level, is that it is expensive and it also reduces your current earning potential during the time you are studying. Depending on the type of course you are pursuing, you may at best be able to hold on to a temporary job which does not pay well.
Despite all these challenges, if you have managed to fix your finances and have substantial savings or investments which ensure steady revenue, you should opt to increase your skills by way of education.
Understanding your current job satisfaction and overcoming obstacles is but a thin sliver of examples of career development tips. Ideally, to get a broader picture, you should consider availing the services of a career management company. The professionals in these companies keep in touch with the latest job market developments, something which you cannot get anywhere else.
The author cannot think of a single instance when career management discussions did not help him. He believes that companies should consider career counselling from outplacement companies.