How we work is changing. There’s the growing casualisation of the workforce as the number of people in part time employment rises faster than full time employment. There’s also the rise of the ‘gig’ economy, where people are hired for short term, contract assignments. In this environment, the person you most need to rely on for a sustainable career is yourself.
If you sit back and wait for other people to manage and support your career you will quickly get left behind. You also miss out on the opportunity to design a career that works for you and matches your lifestyle and life goals.
Tim Ferris in his best-selling book, The Four Hour Work Week, radically shifted how people think about work. He challenged the notion of the orthodox nine-to-five working week, and how it’s the value you add rather than the number of hours you work that is more important. He showed the choices that people can make with their career. What this all means is that now, more than ever, you need to take charge of your career. The question to ask yourself is are you the leader of your career?
- Set direction and take action to get there
- Back themselves and seek to continually develop themselves – knowing there is always more to learn
- Surround themselves with people who will help them get the job done
- Know themselves and seek to understand others
These attributes are equally applicable to your career.
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People who lead their career take time to actively plan their career. They set aside time to reflect on the goals they want to achieve, progress made and key next steps. And they don’t wait for the organisation they work for to develop them. They see learning as crucial to future success and therefore constantly seek out new ideas and ways to stretch themselves.
So if you want to progress your career here’s eight tips to get you started:
- Consistently deliver value with the work you do, by constantly seeking to improve yourself, the value you bring to your work and how you work with those around you.
- Be clear on the value you offer organisations in terms of your capability, skills and always deliver on your commitments.
- Be prepared to stretch and challenge yourself and learn new things. This includes being willing to take on feedback from people, including sponsors, mentors, colleagues and peers.
- Stand out from the crowd by knowing what you stand for so you can ensure there is alignment between your values and the organisation’s values.
- Undertake self-reflection so you continue to reflect on your behaviour and thought patterns, helping you to gather new insights and deeper understanding about yourself, and your impact on others.
- Build a profile and a strong stakeholder network where you are known for something, are respected and have a strong network of people willing to speak for you.
- Look after yourself both physically and mentally. Today’s work environment is stressful and it’s important to be able to regulate behaviour and manage stress.
- Continue to stay abreast of changes in the industry and your chosen profession. Also look at developments in other industries that may impact. This helps to widen your frame of reference about what’s possible.
It was the legendary actress, Mae West, who said “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough”.
Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian. Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’. For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact [email protected].