Do people intentionally stall their careers? I don’t think so. But I have met many who don’t pay attention or lack information about their careers. Here may be some answers:
1. First and most importantly, find support. The best step is to have a mentor: Someone who takes an interest in your work and career and gives you guidance. Help can also be in the form of a co-worker, manager or an experienced career coach.
2. Take advantage of opportunities to expand your skills and experiences. Push out your normal comfort zone with new exposures to projects. Volunteer for teams looking for cost reductions, new product, new markets or better performance. Get noticed.
3. Build bridges to establish new skills, people and opportunities. Network with new groups, especially those outside your core experiences. Join trade or professional organizations: That’s where hiring organizations go to size up the available talent.
4. Look at the long term through progressive short-term steps. Since the ultimate career goal may be 10, 20 or more years out, you can achieve that goal only through a series of smaller steps. Understand what those steps are, then plan for each one.
5. While you shouldn’t jump from job to job, neither should you spend too much time in only one job. A rule of thumb is to take the time to thoroughly master the job you have, establish a highly credible, measurable track record and then start testing the market.
6. Keep relevant and contemporary in your knowledge of what’s going on in your field, while keeping your skill set in technology at the highest. If you fall behind the technology you’ll be out of the running. Why should anyone train you for skills that other candidates have?
7. Use both your analytical mind and your intuitive gut when thinking about your career. Using only one or the other may end with an error of judgment. Changing industries may be your best answer, but overthinking or jumping at an offer is not good decision.
8. Focus on the important elements to your success and career. You only have a certain number of hours to devote to your work, so work hard but smart. Identify the elements of your job that will get the greatest reward when successful. That’s a career spark.
9. Reinforce your winning strategies. They are the confidence builders you’ll need over time. Everything is based on the results you achieve along the way to your ultimate career. If you don’t get results, the next step will be elusive.
10. Never, ever give up. Much of life’s success for most people is just showing up and doing a satisfactory job. Those that move ahead do more than what’s necessary. And people who become leaders in their field have a plan, exceed their goals and get great results.
Your career isn’t anyone’s responsibility except your own. So manage it!
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