This shouldn't have happened.
Earlier this summer I counseled an otherwise intelligent client in the worst of circumstances. Just released summarily from a position in a growing company they had no idea what to do next. Even more worrisome, they didn't know what they'd done.
Or failed to do.
Since client confidentiality is paramount I won't use details from this particular story. Buts its refrain is similar to others so let's explore this dynamic.
It sounds trite, and yet its true: no one cares more about your career than you.
You have to exhibit ownership, indeed stewardship, of your own career. And while not a fan of generational differences theory I can say this: Millennials tend to do this more consistently frequently asking themselves if they're on track to get the experiences they want from work.
We can all model this.
These desired experiences won't matter however if we get sucked into the machine – the day to day relentless drama of business need (where something's always in crisis) – and forget to consider them.
We become so busy worrying about the big picture we forget our own part.
So how do we keep from being blind-sided like my client and ensure that our career path is our own?
Be Edgy – Even the largest of organizations can feel cozy as a warm blanket on a cool winter's eve if we're not aware. We snuggle into the idiosyncrasies and the practices adopting the rhythms of the business as our own. Beware. Familiarity does in fact breed contempt. Our value to the business is in what we bring that enhances, changes and advances it. You can't advance things if you're comfortably ensconced in the fat middle. As the old saying goes, if you're not on the edge you're taking up too much room. Stay on the edge: that's where the leaders are
Be Plugged In – Too often clients in need of emergency coaching ignored the warning signs indicating things weren't well. Boss doesn't chat with you? Not good. Meetings not invited to? Same. No one seeks your input on the latest project? You need to pick up the clue phone – its for you. Do not – I repeat – do not let yourself get so busy, preoccupied or whatever else you call it that you lose sense of the temperature. You are not a frog in an increasingly hot pot of water. Stay plugged into the gestalt of what's going on every day or one day you will be gone
Be Focused – Career success can be defined as enjoying the experiences that matter to you. Have you thought through these lately? Where's your bucket list? Keep your hands on the wheel if you want to drive your own career. Make things happen, don't let them. Though what you want can and will change over time you should always have focus, goals and desires in front of mind. Being focused gives you the clarity you need to know if your career is working out
Careers are full of twists, turns, opportunities, errors and do-overs. We have ups and downs.
Yet all of these experiences can be turned to our advantage if we're simply aware of and open to them.
So stay in touch with your own needs and desires in career.
Wait, is that the phone?