Most of us spend more time planning our vacations than we do our careers. We think that once we get our “dream job,” everything will fall into place – our managers will give us the assignments to get ahead and help us develop, our companies will send us to training to learn the skills we need to succeed. But in today’s market, we are the owners of our careers. Just like an entrepreneur, we need to focus on what opportunities are available, what skills and experiences we need to succeed, and then have a plan to achieve our goals.
Are you taking ownership of your career? Take this quiz and find out!
1. Have you evaluated your career and created a career plan in the last 18 months?
2. Have you identified 3-5 skills you are developing this year?
3. Are you aware of your personal brand?
4. Do you have a personal board of directors (coach, mentor, connector, challenger, champion) to support you in your career?
5. Have you identified (or are you currently working on) a stretch assignment?
6. Have you taken time to self-assess your values, needs, strengths, skills and interests/dislikes, preferences and weaknesses?
7. Have you evaluated the business environment to determine what’s changing and how those changes will impact your career?
8. Have you asked for feedback from bosses, peers and/or direct reports in the last 12-18 months?
9. Are you aware of the skills required to get the job you want AND do you have a plan in place to get them?
10. Are you deliberate in what you get involved in; saying Yes to the things that move you towards your goals and No to the things that don’t?
If you answered yes to:
0-4: Get help now. Building a successful career is an on-going process of reflection, assessment and action. Most people spend more time planning their vacations than they do their careers. Avoid this trap by learning the skills it takes to stay in the driver’s seat of your career. Read books, take assessments, leverage your employer’s annual goal setting process, find a mentor and/or hire a coach.
5-7: Build upon your solid foundation. Continue to invest your time in the steps you are already taking and pick 1-2 more from the list to work on in the coming year. Some of the most important and often overlooked steps are cultivating your personal board of directors, getting feedback from others and being more intentional in what you get involved in. You are the owner of your career but you can’t do it alone. Get help to learn new skills and put a solid career development plan in place.
8-10: You’ve got an eye on your future. Keep up the good work. You clearly understand that a successful career requires planning, continual growth and they support of others. But even the best of us hit roadblocks and rough patches. Don’t be afraid to get extra help during those times.