When I graduated from college in 1983, it was considered a good career strategy to join a large company and build a career within it. But times have changed. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person born in the latter years of the baby boom held 11 jobs from age 18 to age 44.
The lesson here is that business executives can no longer count on an employer for a long-term job or pension. Today it’s more important than ever to take control of your career so that you meet your financial planning goals.
Take these three important steps toward owning your own career:
- Understand that no one cares as much about your career than you. Take responsibility for your career, don’t just let it happen. Life gets so busy, it’s very easy to just keep plugging away and suddenly years go by and you find yourself in a dead-end job or career. You will spend much of your adult life at work – don’t you want to enjoy it and do what you want to do?
- Identify your three-year goals. Talk to people inside and outside of your company about different career paths. Write down activities you really enjoy and list your exceptional talents. Ask yourself where you want to be in three years. Write these goals down. How will you get there? Consider what it will take to make a successful career transition.
- Build your skills. Take inventory of your human capital. Identify what skills are required for the job you want in three years. Take on projects and responsibilities at work or in your extracurricular activities that exercise these “muscles.” Enroll in training classes or utilize a coach to help develop skills that are aligned with your plans. Career coaches can help you clarify goals, develop a plan and take action.
Starting with a mindset that YOU, and no one else, are responsible for your life’s work is a must. Once you’ve completed the steps above, YOU will be in control – confident and empowered to achieve your career success in these ever-changing times.