What about your career - is your career on course?
Are you where you want to be?
According to a March 2017 article in CBS Money Watch on cbsnews.com citing a Gallup study on the American Workplace, 2/3 of approximately 100 million workers in America are disengaged at work, meaning that they do not feel connected to their jobs and may only perform the minimum.
So how do you get on track in the first place - get back on track - or after a long career run, get on a new track?
If you decided to take a road trip from Colorado to Washington to tour the Space Needle and visit Mt. Rainier, how would you get there? Would you just jump in the car and go [don’t answer that]! Most likely you would make plan, chart your course, review logistics [how far, how long], and determine the requirements for the trip. And what would you do if you got lost?
So why do so many people ‘jump in the car of their career’ and spin the wheel - like the one in the game of LIFE - to see what will happen to them? Why leave it all to chance? This is where Career Mapping is beneficial. Career Mapping is the process you can use to determine the career path and the course of actions needed to achieve your career goals.
First, you need to determine your career field. Here are a few resources if you need help with that: StrengthFinder 2.0, What Color is My Parachute, and DISC Assessments. Once you have decided on your career field, it is time to start mapping!
This is the exciting part, because YOU are in charge, and YOU set the trajectory. Make sure to plan for the occasional flat tire or sudden weather change that takes you off course, but only temporary.
- Research: What are the professional or trade ‘position’ titles in your field? What is the percentage of people in various industries [especially yours] with those position titles? For example, Project Manager is broad - Biochemistry and Immunology Specialist - not so much.
- Does your company have a Professional Development Plan [a career map] already in place? Do they have a ‘hidden’ career planning process for specific positions?
- What is required to ascend to each of those positions? Map out about 5 steps ahead, depending on your current role and your goals. What skills do YOU need and how will you attain them? Look for what differentiates employees already in those positions. How can you differentiate yourself?
- Where and HOW can you increase your knowledge, build skills, and gain experience directly related to the requirements for each of those positions? For example: earning certifications, licenses, job shadowing, volunteering, job sharing, book/internet knowledge, advanced degree, or mentor.
- Remain flexible: Obtaining each level in your career may not be a straight diagonal line, it may require a lateral move, transfer, relocation, TIME, or investment in resources/knowledge.
- Measure your progress and re-evaluate your goals to make sure you are still on track! Remember, your career is not your company’s responsibility - it is yours!