Scaling The Ladder

Career planning: What is it?

Many of us don’t plan our careers beyond securing that job. But there’s so much more to your career than slowly climbing that ladder rung by rung. With the right plan in hand, you could be hitting the “up” button for the career elevator, heading for greater job satisfaction and a more efficient way of getting to the top!

This is all very exciting; but first, where do you start? Like all plans, it starts with a little introspection. What do you need? Where do you want to be in, say, five years? Setting a timeline will give you more focus. Some things to think about while making your plan:

1. Your preferred job industry: This may seem like a no-brainer, but there ARE many instances where people study a course they don’t really enjoy, and then move into an industry they don’t really enjoy, only to suddenly quit and start afresh in a brand -new industry. When you do that, you start from scratch which sets you back months or even years.

2. Your preferred work environment: If you already know you tend to melt down in high-pressure situations don’t put yourself in that environment! High-pressure jobs tend to come with better pay and benefits, causing many people to see dollar signs instead of sense which could then lead to depression. If you can’t handle stress, you might want to consider jobs in relatively relaxed environments.

3. Your likes and dislikes: Make a list of what you like and dislike. Think about your job. If your job has more likes than dislikes, then you’re probably in the right place! Set realistic goals: It’s impossible for you to love every aspect of your job and workplace. Then switch your focus to your career path: Do you like where it’s headed? If your career falls more into the like side, then you know you’re still on the right track. You should also sit down and think about what you want and/or need from your career. Do you want to make big money? Or do you want personal satisfaction instead? Giving this some thought will help when you’re trying to map your way through the career jungle.

4. Past work samples/accomplishments: Many of us just go about our daily tasks without realising that we are actually collecting samples of our work. It’s a good idea to go through your past samples and take note of which tasks made you the happiest and which ones you were the best at. They act as indicators of what jobs you would probably be best at!

5. Transferable job skills: Speaking of work accomplishments, it doesn’t matter if your job title says “sales manager.” If you have put together Powerpoint presentations, you can use them as samples of your ability to use Microsoft Office! And, isn’t it more effective and far more powerful than checking the “Excellent” box next to the “Microsoft Office” skill box? Think about all the experience you’ve racked up over the course of your job(s), and how it has enhanced your skill set. When you actually take notice of ALL your abilities, different job options may suddenly seem more achievable!

6. Review job trends: For long-term planning, you should review your industry as part of your plan. Industries expand and shrink in tandem with demand so if you see that your current industry is shrinking, it’s a good idea to review your accomplishments (see no.4) and start planning to break into a new market.

7. Set a career or job goal: This will help you set a destination for your map. Being focused will enable you to find the best and most efficient ways to achieve your goals!

Make sure you regularly make a plan; you’d be able to chart your progress and assess whether your current job is growing with you or if you’re outgrowing your job scope. If it’s the latter, it’s time to consider asking for a promotion or hunting for a new place that will have use for your new talents.