Being in control of your career is much easier said than done. It takes effort, time and thoughtful action. If you want to be in the driver’s seat, here are a few tips to consider.
Know what is important to you Said another way, what are your values and which ones are most important to you (e.g., alone time, social time with friends, family, your job, title, salary, etc.)? It’s not easy to figure this out, so creating a list of everything that matters to you and then prioritizing will help. Remember to be honest—nobody is here to judge if money is more important to you than time with your family! And…what matters to you will change over time so don’t be afraid to make adjustments.
Focus your energy at the top of your list Once you know what values are most important to you, you will quickly know how much energy you have to focus on your career. If your career or anything job related is at the top of your list, then you are off to a great start in owning your career. If it’s lower on your list, own up to that and realize you may not get as much out of your career unless you are willing to make it a higher priority.
If you’re not happy with your career, do something about it The number one reason people are not happy at work is because of their boss. Whether or not your boss is the reason, staying unhappy won’t get you anywhere. As hard as it is, stop talking about why you are miserable to anyone who will listen. Trust me, they are sick of hearing about it. Instead, invest your energy in making a change and taking full responsibility that if you are not happy with your career, the only one to blame is you. Those who excel in their careers don’t waste their time complaining; they go after what they want and don’t stop…even when they are happy! Take risks, especially early on in your career. The best lessons are through experiences, so the more the better!
Maximize your resources Family, friends, professors, mentors, co-workers…the list goes on. Your network will pay off time and time again. The world is small and it’s getting smaller with social media. The more you leverage the resources around you, the better your chances of getting what you want professionally. Many job opportunities come from someone who knows someone whose friend met you at a party, and knows you are looking for a new job—so spread the word! If you are really serious about your career, get a career coach. A coach is one of the best resources you can invest in to help you own your career throughout life!
Be true to yourself Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech pretty much sums it up:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Florina Gordon Krawchick is a human resources leader. She has spent over 10 years working in the finance, pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Florina has a true passion for business and people and supports both through identifying, developing, rewarding and retaining talent. Her expertise is in recruiting, training, talent management, leadership development, organizational design and coaching. Florina graduated with honors in Business and Human Resources from The George Washington University. She is a certified SPHR and Professional Coach. For more information, visit her LinkedIn page.