Ah, the good old days! Back when you could join an organization and not have to worry about your career or its future path. When bosses proudly boasted, “Don’t worry. Leave the driving to us!” However, in the last 20 years, the workplace agreement between employer and employee has changed dramatically.
Gone are the days when employers would guarantee you employment until you retire (assuming you were a good worker). The sun has set on the days when employers would manage the reins of your career and all you had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride. That job now belongs to you! You are now the CEO of your career, whether you want the job or not.
The problem is millions of employees still don’t get it. They still believe if they keep their heads down and “do their job,” everything will turn out just fine. Many have not realized or accepted that they must now manage their own careers if they want to achieve success. Oh heck, forget success – if they want to survive!
Today, you must not only be strategic about your work, you must be strategic about your career. You have to have a plan and be willing to work that plan if you want success. Otherwise, you may find yourself left in the cold.
Now, I know this post sounds like all “doom and gloom,” but it’s not. The great news is you now get to determine where you want to go; not just allow someone else to decide your future. You get to be the key decision maker in deciding how you spend your days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t enjoy your work, work to make a change. If work/life balance isn’t as balanced as you need it to be, you can choose to carve out a new path that will bring you what you want. But, the first thing you must do is realize YOU ARE THE BOSS OF YOUR CAREER, NOT ANYONE ELSE.
If you are now having a real wakeup call and are ready to get started, here are some things you can do:
1. Be clear about what you want. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
2. Make a plan. You know the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
3. Get help. Surround yourself with people who will encourage and support you. Whether it’s family members, friends, colleagues, or a professional coach, remember you’re not an island and can’t do it alone.
4. Start. If you’re just now having your “ah ha” moment, you may already be behind so don’t delay any further. There are too many good opportunities out there waiting for you to discover them.
If you want your career to move forward, the best person to invest in your success is you! As the poster I saw at the mall said years ago, “OPPORTUNITY – Don’t wait for your ship to come in. Swim out to it.”