When we talk about career management, I would propose that the single most important word we need to remember is ‘control’ and, to be in control, we need to constantly maintain, nurture and protect our core stability.
I’d like to give you an example that I was told about recently in which someone maintained control and managed their career in a way that made them happy and fulfilled by turning down a job promotion.
Sarah was an experienced carer and, as part of her job, she mentored other junior staff; she was involved in the practical care of her clients and enjoyed listening to their stories as she carried out her work. She had gradually achieved higher and higher qualifications in all areas of health and social care and had progressed to studying and qualifying for a management position. Sarah was given a promotion; this meant that she would no longer carry out practical duties, but would become part of the management team dealing with human resources, health and safety, training, buildings and repairs and so on.
Sarah thought about her promotion and the fact that she enjoyed her job because of the practical work that she did. She negotiated with her employer to retain some of these duties; she explained that she needed to keep one foot on the ground in order to manage her team effectively and so she was offered a partial promotion – she would take on some management duties as well as retain some of the more practical parts of her job. Sarah’s colleague was given a similar promotion and the two regularly compared notes and shared responsibilities. Sarah’s control over her own career meant that she explored the breadth of her position instead of automatically climbing rungs on the ladder. The business gained two managers who were able to be a practical part of the staff that they managed and could lead more effectively as a result.
Moving forward is not necessarily moving upward; understanding
the depth of our current position and making the most of the breadth of our knowledge sometimes reaps more reward than simply moving up a career ladder.
I work with a wide variety of organisations and individuals to increase their core stability, and I believe that everyone is capable of being a leader: through ownership of our potential, we can all lead our own ship to achieve leadership. Sarah, in this example, proved her ability as a leader when she took control of her own career. She owned her potential and was able to lead her ship in a forward direction.
Believing that we can underlies every part of the management of our career. Once again, ‘can’ does not necessarily mean ‘should’. So often employers are in control of our career path as we believe that we should take every promotion upwards that we are offered. Things that we need to be aware of, and often to work on, are:
- procrastination: letting decisions be made for us
- delegation: this does not mean losing control, it means being a good manager
- saying no: we all find it difficult sometimes to say no – we feel that it makes us appear weak; in fact the opposite is true – understanding your limitations and being in control of your time management and practicalities unlocks your inner strength
- authenticity: making realistic agreements and achieving them
- leadership/ownership: developing a leadership style that benefits your businesses as a whole and not just individuals shows you to be a true leader.
Each of the above soft skills need to be developed alongside qualifications and practical skills that you gain throughout your career. Explore the depth and width of your current position as well as your core values: what is really important to you? It is predicted that by 2025, 30% of the population will be replaced by artificial intelligence*, career changes are inevitable. Things that can affect our career are redundancy, retirement, returning back to work, divorce and bereavement. Our career pathway need to be mapped out and managed in a way that is flexible and adaptable.
Career management therefore means exploring the depth of your knowledge and the breadth of your soft and practical skills – the view is not always better from a higher window.
skype – evelyn.hoggart