You’re the driver of your career — so get in the front seat, set your GPS, and get moving! Too many times we wait for someone else to determine our career path: our manager, the organization… or circumstances. You’re in charge of your own career. You’re accountable for your work satisfaction. You decide how long to stay and you have the power and influence to improve your work. Accept that responsibility, complete with its challenges, and you’ll get more of what you want from your work and your workplace.
Discover your niche and create your work around it. Start by recognizing who you are, who you are not and what you do well. This takes a lot of self-reflection and self-acceptance. Pay particular attention to the things that really excite you, that make you feel passionate. These will give you energy and fuel your life.
Chart your career. Knowing what energizes you, look at how you can continue to grow in your current job by expanding your responsibilities, leveraging your skills and experience, and/or finding opportunities to do more in the areas you really enjoy. Then ask. Don’t expect your managers to read your mind or to take the first step. Don’t make them guess about what you want, because most often they’ll guess wrong. Be clear. Be prepared. Be collaborative, and then ask for what you want. If you don’t ask, you’re less likely to get what you want.
Solid performers will get more respect when asking for what they want, so first and foremost make sure you’re meeting your goals consistently.
To uncover opportunities in your organization, tell someone you are looking for them! Oh – and make sure that when the opportunity knocks, you not only hear it but are prepared to open the door.