Spring — time for hope, honesty, and renewal. Here at Get a Leg Up, we’re taking stock of our mission and having a few strategic conversations with fellow bloggers to better define our place in the world. This may result in increased commitment to the cause, or it may result in a tactical shift in direction. Either way, these conversations are too few and far between.
The same approach is useful (required, really) when you’re starting your career. Though career success is measured by some in terms of promotions, compensation, and years, you can’t get there without regularly checking your course. After all, success is always a series of smaller steps and decisions.
It’s all too easy to get lost in the day-to-day and continue on the same course you charted months or years ago. This is particularly true for young professionals and job seekers. One of the most common questions I get from Millennials is, “How am I supposed to know what I want to be when I grow up?” And wow — that’s a big, wide, deep question. But at this point, the process of finding that answer will drive anyone nuts. In fact, it would drive most seasoned career vets nuts.
A few more meaningful questions:
What am I doing to stand out from everyone else? What am I doing to accelerate my career as fast as I can?
It’s easy to keep doing what you’ve always done. But as the saying goes, you’ll get what you’ve always got. Been looking for a job for 3 months using the same resume and approach? Maybe it’s time for a creative change. Find yourself doing the same thing day after day stuck in the beige maze of Corporate America? What can you do to change it?
I fall victim to this, too. I forget to take a step back and assess my career. I spend more time thinking about my role within my company than I do about my personal career which, of course, is part of being dedicated to my company and my program. But I give this advice to almost everyone I hire:
You are the project manager for the 40 year project that is your career. Nobody else is in charge.
Take a step back this month and ask yourself a few key questions:
- Are you heading where you want to go?
- Are you building the skills you want to build?
- Are you being compensated for skills and traits you want to be compensated for?
Spring is a great time for these questions. As you might clean your house, clean your career path.