Everyone Needs to Manage Their Careers? Yes, EVERYONE!

Everyone Needs Career Management? Yes, EVERYONE!

In preparing for an upcoming presentation on career management, I posted the following on my Facebook page:

“Think that career management isn’t necessary for you? Let me ask — are you currently working or in transition? If you fit in either category, then you have a career to manage.”

This led to an interesting conversation with a couple career colleagues, Barb Poole (a career coach and résumé writer for 30 years) and Mary Wilson (a workplace consultant with more than 25 years in manufacturing and service industries).

Taking charge of changes in your career

Barb referred to the importance of each one of us being CEOs of our career. In a blog post she wrote about this idea of taking charge of our careers, Barb said, “Think about your work from the perspective of not clinging to your job as a child would to his blanket.”

I love this quote! Nothing in this world stays the same, so it stands to reason that trying to hold fast to the same job could do more harm than good to your career — even if, in the moment, it feels like change is the scarier option.

This is true no matter your vocation or level. Even a 16-year-old working as a cashier in a fast food restaurant should be thinking about the changes that will happen in his/her career and how to manage those changes.

How can the skills learned in that role be used to find success in future opportunities? How can s/he gain experiences beyond the current job description to better help him/herself in other roles? Or, as Barb put it, look at “the aerial view of that career.”

Where do you place your value?

Mary noted that folks sometimes minimize the importance of career management. “People will spend a lot of money on things that have no long-term payback — designer clothes, trips, sports tickets, etc. — but are reluctant to invest in themselves and their careers,” she observed.

I know I have sometimes fallen into that trap of not investing in my career, and I understand how easy it is to do. All of the items that Mary mentioned give an immediate “feel-good,” whereas investing in your career (taking classes, updating your résumé, networking, working with a career professional, etc.) feels like a chore. It isn’t glamorous or sexy. In the short term, it feels… dull.

But think about it — the time you spend working in your career comprises at least 1/3 of your waking hours every week and enables you to buy the necessities of life (and hopefully a few extra perks).

An initial investment in getting started on career management could be equivalent to 1-3 weeks of salary. Ongoing annual maintenance could then be 1 week or less of salary (possibly up to 2 weeks, depending on life circumstances).

For something that is such a huge part of your life, isn’t your career worth managing?

Image courtesy of COD Newsroom

Melissa Cooley, career coach and certified résumé writer of The Job Quest, LLC unearths her clients’ career examples to showcase the talents and results that make them must-hire candidates. Click here for more information on ways to partner with Melissa for your career success!

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