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This post is the 5th and final in the series entitled Pathway to a Successful & Satisfying Career. You can find earlier posts in the series by clicking here.
The “Pathway to a Successful & Satisfying Career” includes four key steps:
- Campaign, and
- Ongoing Reflection & Transformation
This post will address the Ongoing Reflection & Transformation (aka Change) stage.
You Secured A “Best Fit” Career – Now What?
Congratulations! You have successfully identified, targeted, validated, and secured your “best fit” career opportunity! Time to celebrate? Sure, but don’t celebrate too much. Change is happening all around you at a never-ending pace. You must manage your career with ongoing change in mind. Nothing remains the same forever, so take nothing for granted when it comes to your career and earning power. You need ongoing reflection and transformation to ensure your long-term success.
Your career is your most significant financial asset, but it has a limited “shelf life.” That is, unless you properly care for and manage your career, the earnings capacity from your job will diminish over time. Additionally, remember that your total time devoted to your career is approximately 70,000 hours. Every day that you do not optimize your earning power leaves one less day to transform some of that earning power into financial capital (aka, savings and investments) to help fund your “retirement” years. You must remain diligent in growing and managing your career. That diligence begins on the first day of your new career opportunity!
Potential Roadblocks & Diversions on Your Career Pathway
You made it through a grueling process and secured your targeted career opportunity. What could get in your way to derail your progression and ongoing success and satisfaction? Well, plenty if you think about it!
Organizational or Industry-Related Changes
Organizations and companies regularly change management strategies and teams based upon changes within the industry, profit motives, ownership changes, and a multitude of other reasons. One day your employer appears stable, profitable, and on target to attain their growth goals. The next day there are rumblings of “reductions in force,” layoffs, reassignments, plant or office closures, etc. None of these events are within your control! However, how you prepare for and address such changes will make a big difference in how successfully manage through the changes and maintain your earnings trajectory and satisfaction on the job.
Cultural or Value-Oriented Changes
Maybe the changes are more subtle or don’t manifest themselves in the short term. Examples include company culture, company values, and working environment. Likewise, your beliefs & values, needs & wants, family circumstances, etc. may change over time and require a change in your career outlook. The best indicator of the subtle differences is in your “gut.” Something gnaws at you, telling you to stop and take notice. Many times, we fight through it, writing it off as “that’s life.” Now is not the time to ignore those signals as your sub-conscience mind is sending you a message.
Changes with Financial Requirements
Finally, you may desire or require a change based on more significant financial needs or wants. Be careful here! Keep in mind that your career vision statement rests on an alignment (aka balance) between your personal life and career life. Sure, money is essential, and who would not want a raise in pay? After a review, if you can maintain your work/life balance with the career change, then, by all means, consider the opportunity. Be honest, though, and don’t get mesmerized with the potentially larger paycheck. Larger paychecks don’t come without added responsibilities, requiring more of your time and energy.
Financial demands and requirements are within your control. Remember, your financial capital comes from transforming your human capital (career, experience, etc.) into savings and investments. Learn to delay gratification on your more substantial wants and needs until later. The old saying, “live within your means,” holds much truth and will save you from significant stress down the road.
Using Your Career Lens to Manage Career Decisions
Whenever faced with a potential career decision, always rely on your Career Lens to help you sort through the factors before making a final decision. Your Career Lens is your foundation and outlines everything important to you regarding your work life and personal life. Whenever faced with a career decision, stop, and notice what is different. Why are you feeling this way? Listen to your instincts and allow time to process the information. Go back to your Career Lens and examine each parameter to determine what may have changed and why it is causing stress or indecision on your part. Make no immediate decisions. Instead, allow yourself time to process the information and rely on trusted peers and friends to help you make sense of the situation.
Once you believe you understand the situation and have identified the key inputs, you have a choice to make. You can choose to adapt, or you can decide to move on. If you decide to adapt in your current position, look at the situation from all angles, and be honest with yourself. Have a frank discussion with your superiors and assess their objectivity and integrity. Sometimes, a slight change in your role or responsibilities will be all you need to get back to a stable balance. Don’t discount the opportunities that may exist within your current organization.
Consider Your “Career Equity”
Before you decide to move on to another career opportunity, give thought to the “career equity” you have in your current position. Is the move to another career opportunity worth the risk of change? Understand that you will have a brief honeymoon at the new job, but you will have to prove yourself again in the eyes of your new peers and superiors. Carefully weigh your decision but rely on your Career Lens to guide you.
In the end, you must weigh all the factors and make an informed decision. If it is indeed a time for a change, then return to the first step in the Pathway to a Successful & Satisfying Career. Pull out your initial assessments, review your Career Lens, identify your next “best fit” career opportunity, validate it, and pursue it with vigor! The process is continual and engenders positive change and growth. Stay on the Pathway and use your Career lens as your roadmap to help get you to your successful and satisfying destination, however you define it.
Thanks for reading the series on the Pathway to a Successful & Satisfying Career. Where are you along the path? If you need help, a process to follow, or a source of subtle but effective accountability, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit my website, https://www.cfpathways.com, for more information.