What’s Your Approach to Career Development?

by | Jan 28, 2023 | Career Advice, Career Development, Mentoring

Preventative maintenance or emergency room visit?

How Much Time

When I teach and present Career Development topics, attendees ask, “How much time should I spend on career planning and development?” Here’s how I answer this question.

Think about your health. Do you go to the doctor regularly? Are you getting your teeth cleaned every six months? How long since you had an annual physical? How are you eating habits? Are you exercising regularly? Do you do aerobic activities? When was the last time you saw the dermatologist? How about an eye exam?

Some of us will say, “yes.” Some of us will say, “no, but I should.” As a result, some of us will catch things early or even prevent health issues, and some of us will land in the emergency room.

The Bottom Line

Your company and industry are constantly changing and shifting. Sometimes we can see the changes – sometimes, it’s imperceptible. No matter how fast the change – our work environment is continually evolving. One of my favorite resilience training quotes comes from cartoonist Ashleigh Brilliant. “Some changes are so slow; you don’t notice them. Others are so fast; they don’t notice you.”

What are you doing to stay abreast of all the changes and avoid getting trampled by them? What are you doing to ensure you don’t end up in the ‘emergency room’ when a reorganization, downsizing, or divestiture happens, and suddenly your role, project, or organization disappears? When it happens, your colleagues and a large chunk of their network are usually affected too. Most employees have a network of people around them that does similar work to what they do. Most of us don’t take the time to build a broader and more diverse network with people in different business groups, disciplines, sites, or companies.

Are You Aware?

Some employees have their heads down and are working so hard that they don’t see the signs that the company’s need for their particular expertise is waning and other areas are emerging. How are you keeping your skill set current and relevant?

Are you the person who is missing out on opportunities because you’re not aware of what’s going on outside your group or division? What options could catapult you to the next level, make you more well-rounded, or deepen your expertise? How can you stay connected to what’s happening? How will you pull out of your details to keep an eye on the bigger picture?

Career Development is like preventative health care. You need to spend time (yes, it takes time) and effort to ensure you are learning, networking, and aware of your surroundings and how things might change and shift. Put together a plan and know the resources and how to find opportunities when changes happen.

Aren’t sure where to start building your preventative career development plan? Attend a Career Development session at your company or at a conference. Spend time setting up lunches and 1:1s with fascinating people at your company or on LinkedIn. Build your Network. Take some time to think about your brand and create a “Get to Know Me” slide to share with people you meet. Make a conscious effort to meet others outside your group.

Be Fearless

Try something new. Get started with some preventative maintenance. Then move into preemptive maintenance, where you’re doing what you need to do to keep your career healthy for the length of your working life.

For ideas and prompts, please follow me on LinkedIn or contact me to set up Career Development Coaching sessions. I can also deliver workshops or training at your company to help you and your colleagues.

Now tell me below, what will you do first to grow your career?

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