How Are You Taking Ownership of Your Career?
Career Ownership is probably the word that has been thrown around so much in 2018 and the projection is that it is going to be among the trendiest keywords in 2019 and beyond. Have you realized how democratized everything has become these days, more so in the areas of career and education? You can go study what you want and practice in whichever field you like, sometimes not even related to what you studied. But, there’s always a catch; you will face the outcomes of your choices alone. Not even the government or the college you went to is going to “bail you out” when the field you choose or the degree you took doesn’t work.
Which is why, beyond the idea of open choice, you need to strike a balance between pursuing your passions, going for what you like, and making moves that you won’t regret. Career ownership is less about doing what you like, and more of being able to build a solid foundation for your career. It is like a journey that you have to prepare for. You must know where you are going and have the directions and means to get there. It takes a lot of hard work, but you want to get there, right? Here are some steps you can take in order to take ownership of your career.
Conduct a Personal Career Audit
Have you ever stopped to ask questions like “What am I really doing with my life?”, or made statements like “I’m not sure I should even be here right now”? Well, we all go through that at some point and that is great because it is the beginning of a personal/career audit. I use the term personal/career because very few people have segmented lives where their careers do not spill over into their personal lives. Now, you just need to go a step further and ask more specific questions like “what do I want to achieve in life and in my career? What do I need to get there? What do I already have? What skills do I need to learn?” Also, throw in a couple of “whys” into the mix. “Why do I want X?” Asking these questions will help you uncover some very important personal truths that we often ignore and go unaware of. Remember, recognition is the first step to growth.
Have a Plan? Put it Down On Paper
Now that you know where your interests lie, skillset, growth areas, and where you need to be, it’s time to ask the big question; how exactly will you get there? What do you need to do or to stop doing in order to get there? “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Put your plan down on paper. Whether it’s a new skill that you need to acquire, a habit you need to get into, a mentor you need to reach out to, or even a conversation you need to have, be it to ask for a raise or even just a simple confrontation with a senior. When will you do it? What things do you need to get done before then? A challenge that is quite common with planning though is that we get overambitious and unrealistic. Which is okay – to some extent – because you are simply recognizing what you can potentially achieve if you did everything right. However, what happens if you don’t do everything exactly as planned? What will the outcome be? Take all these factors into account. A trick that could be helpful is to have a number of plans, all the way down to plan D. And it works. What’s your plan Dand E? Write them down.
Consider Starting From Where You Are
Look around you. You have so many more opportunities than you are aware of. You already have some great skills that you can use to advance yourself. You have a network, no matter how small. Recognize all these opportunities and stop wishing you had this and that, start right there where you are. All of us will at some point wish we were two or three steps ahead. But often times, we fail to realize that the tenacity and strength needed to move forward from the now, is the same that you will need to get to the next level. And you have to build it at some point. Start now.
Career Ownership at The ALX Launchpad
One of our core values at ALX is ownership. We not only talk about career ownership but also encourage our Young Leaders to take overall ownership of their individual journeys. While we provide the tools and resources you need to grow, from a powerful network of mentors, investors, and advisers, to the opportunity of working on real-life problems in order to develop real-life skills, we expect that you will embark on a personal journey to discover which of them will be helpful to you as an individual, and go for them. We have created the platform and support system that you need to launch a career of impact and purpose. But you will answer the question of ‘what career’ and ‘what impact’ you want to create. Are you ready to join our vibrant community? Applications are now open on apply.alx.app.