Guest Blog: Rachel Brushfield from ‘Energise – The Talent Liberation Company’ talks being Career Smart in the New Year
A high proportion of people fall into their career by accident. A few, by chance or luck, enjoy their work, but many don’t, which is a shame as it represents such a large proportion of our time and it has a big knock-on effect on other areas of our lives.
Having a career vision and plan is like being in a boat where you can use a motor, oars, paddle or the sails, with a compass to steer you towards the horizon to the destination of your choosing, whatever the weather. It makes sense to think about your career vision and have a plan A, B and C and to make time to think about your career choices.
“Your aspirations are your possibilities.” Anon
Why don’t people have a career vision/plan?
So why do so many people fall into a job?
Their parents were ‘hands off’ about their career
They received no/inadequate careers advice at school or college
They are too busy/don’t make time to reflect
They are unsure about how to go about it
They live ‘in the moment’/naturally think short term
They find it easier or comforting to focus on the immediate priorities of life; eating, sleeping, shopping, doing their current job
There are more and more distractions that get in the way e.g. social media
They have never thought about how they can influence their future
“If you don’t know where you are going, you might not get there.” Yogi Berra.
Why create a career vision and plan?
“Purpose serves as a principle around which to organise our lives.” Anon.
Why is creating a vision and plan a good idea for your career?
Increases the chance of career fulfilment
Making conscious decisions rather than falling into jobs or leaving your career to chance is wise
What you focus on is what you get
Having a career plan helps you to narrow down information and networking options in a world of growing information overload/overwhelm
Trends show that in future, people will need a higher level of skill and qualification so it helps you plan the time and money to achieve this
Competition is increasing with well qualified cheaper hungry to learn talent from ‘people rich’ countries e.g. India, Brazil, China
More and more jobs are being replaced by technology
Layers of management have been stripped out making getting a job for middle and senior management more competitive; differentiation and self marketing is essential
It provides a horizon towards which you are always moving, whatever life/work throws at you
Helps you say ‘no’ to things so you avoid wasting time/energy
Stops you going down the wrong path and having regrets
Means you are less likely to make a mistake
Gives you a sense of control and purpose in uncertain and unpredictable times
Prevents other people/external events determining what happens
Helps you evolve your career and be proactive rather than reactive
Ensures a good fit between you and your work
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain.
How do you go about creating a career vision and plan?
It is a mixture of internal and external exploration and thinking and includes:
Having a clear S.M.A.R.T. goal
Creating a timing plan
Breaking down long term outcomes into small shorter steps
Having self-awareness; your needs, wants, values, motivations, skills, qualities etc.
Diarising time to review and update it
Reviewing published data on skill shortages and job/career trends
Researching employer needs e.g. changing competencies
Looking at market, economic and industry changes and trends
Creating an image board – a pictorial representation of what you want from your career
“Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” Anon.
Opportunity cost of not having a career vision and plan
What are the implications of not creating a vision and plan for your career?
You dislike your job
You feel frustrated
You get left behind with your peers succeeding
You leave yourself vulnerable in the world of work
You don’t feel resilient
You experience frustration and anger from being unfulfilled which has a negative impact on your relationships and health
You feel anxious and disempowered
Your talent is unliberated
Your career options and choices are restricted
You are on the back foot (reactive), rather than the front foot (proactive)
You don’t realise the potential you are capable of
You provide a poor role model for your children that you can have meaningful and fulfilling work that plays to your strengths, not just ‘a job’
“Control your destiny or someone else will.” Jack Welsh.
12 tips and useful resources
Here are some useful resources and tips to help you make it happen:
Get a career coach
Read autobiographies of people whose career inspires you, blogs and career self-help books
Look at Cedefop for future skill trends
Ask yourself self-reflective questions (self-coaching) to help you get clear e.g. What would make me feel I had achieved career success?
Become aware of long-term work trends and how they impact on you e.g. read ‘The Shift – the future of work is already here’ and ‘The 100-year life’ by Lynda Gratton
Know why and how to market yourself e.g. read Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn) ‘The start-up of you.‘
Block out time in your diary to focus on creating your career vision and plan
Diarise quarterly career reviews
Set up a savings account to invest in your personal and professional development
Commit to taking responsibility for your own career
Imagine being at the end of your life and look back – what do you want from your career?
Write your CV for 5 years’ time
What tips would you add?
“If one does not know to which port is sailing, no wind is favourable.” Seneca.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Reggie Leach.
By: Rachel Brushfield, The Talent Liberator, Energise – The Talent Liberation Company