Get clear. First of all, be really sure about what you want to achieve in your career. Is it the next step on the corporate ladder, more work-life balance, running your own business or something else? Even if you want to stay doing what you are doing, you need to be clear on the type of business that will suit you. Think about what works for you at the moment and what you want to change over time.
Get a plan. Once you know what you want, you can start building a plan of attack. What are your options in terms of career steps and how can you make them happen. If you think the answer is a new career, find out about it in detail, don’t assume the grass is always greener. If it’s a new company or step up, what are the options to help you achieve what you want – think broadly before you decide on a track.
Get real. How good are your skills for what you want to do in the future? Remember being great at what you do now, doesn’t automatically mean you are ready for the next step. Look at people a step or two ahead of you in your career and start studying what they do and how they behave. Get yourself some feedback from people above, below and on your level and listen to it. Also think about some external views – many people get stuck into a certain style of behaving within their current role or business and it can be difficult to shift from that.
Get going. Your perfect career move won’t just land at your feet. Many people assume that given the market right now, that there are no jobs out there. For quality candidates, there are! Make sure your CV, job approaches, networking or just your plan to set up a new business marks you out from the crowd so you will get noticed. Again, try and get some external views on this – most people are too close to their own experiences to think about what they really need to say.
Keep going. Careers are long term things – sometimes you have to see the long term to get what you want. Certainly you won’t get there overnight – you need to keep going, keep making progress and keep your eye on your goal. Think about it this way – wouldn’t you want to spend the next holidays saying how much you enjoyed and felt valued in your work?
And if all that sounds like hard work? You only get one working life – don’t give up too easily on something that is so important.
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