Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Active Engagement in YOUR Career Development

Dans les champs de l'observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés.

In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind.

- Louis Pasteur

There is this notion that for one person to do well and be successful that another person has to be hurt in some kind of way. This same ideal and principle is behind the argument to increase minimum wage. Ironically enough I have seen and heard this same idea in a lot in career development discussions. This whole belief and idea that is it up to someone else to make things happen for their career-the idea that it is all about "who you know."  In reality is more about who knows you, who knows your work, who can speak up for you when you are not around... I have found that some people truly believe that we live in a utopian society (Oh! By the way, we do not...).  We live in a society in which there are external and internal factors and variables that must be taken into consideration when we look at someone else's success and career choices. For the most part people are in control of their own destiny, meaning that if someone actively chooses not to seek out opportunities or actively chooses to not be prepared for opportunities unfortunately fortune will not favor them in that situation.

I was lucky enough very early in my career to have a supervisor who not only understood the true meaning of career development, but also created the course work for my large organization. She taught me wonders about myself and where I see myself going in my career. She taught me how to have those, sometimes, difficult conversation with a supervisor regarding my career growth and my next steps. But most importantly she taught me that my career is in my own hands. And that one small step, means the world to me now. I confidently understand that idea that I need to make things happen, I can not sit around and wait for someone to make things happen for me. I need to make sure I am continually growing and stretching myself. I also need to be sure that the people who work around me and with me know what it is that I would like to do (Not out of vanity, but because you never know who will be speaking up for you when you are not around. How can someone speak for you if they do not know your work?). I have the one-on-one time with directors and managers to not only get thier career paths, but also so they can get to know who I am and where I want to be. I take their advice - many times they have some ingenious nuggets of information - I apply it and I write it down for future reference.

I am always thinking about my career, what is going to be my next move, what is it that I am doing in my current role that I should focus on for my next role, what skills sets to I need to work on, what skills sets are my natural tendencies, what is my genuine passion , why did God put me in this position, ect. On and on and on and on until I literally can not think anymore; I find myself doing a lot of this thinking late at night when it is quiet and it is just me and my own thoughts (no Emma and Frozen, no TV's, no iPods, iPads, or iPhones, no puppy wanting to chew on my hands, no anything, just me....) This is so many times the best, most beautiful and enlightening time of day for me. By far the most productive as far as personal growth and development are concerned. Why? Because it is an honest conversation with myself.

1. I still carry a paper planner-by the way which I love.
2. I have a 5 year plan written in my planner. Courses and learning I will take, community goals, career goals, ect. (My 10 year plan is still a little foggy, I have some ideas but I need to narrow my focus)
3. It is accessible anywhere I am so when people ask me where I see myself in 5, 10, 15 years, I can tell them and outline how I plan to get there.
4. If you think it, ink it. Fantasy becomes reality when it is written on paper. For me it is a level of accountability to achieve a certain action once it is on paper.

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