Is your Career on Track in 2017?
I tend to favor transparent and honest communication. Usually at Silicon Beach Talent we talk about this in the context of having important conversations with your clients, managers, direct reports, or colleagues you work closely with. But how often do we have honest conversations with ourselves? How often do we hold ourselves accountable for managing to our own goals and milestones? With the end of 2017 fast approaching now is a good time to ask: is your career on track?
Step one: actually start. Right now.
Have you ever wondered if you should make a job or career change? If so you’re not alone. Only about 49% of people in the US are happy with their job, according to a Pew Research study, and yet the demand for skilled workers still far exceeds the supply. So what gives?
The truth is that we are creatures of momentum, and it’s much easier to think about making a change than it is to actually start the process. Of course this isn’t unique to career moves, just think of any popular new year’s resolution and how often they fall victim to the thought “I’ll start that tomorrow.”
It’s easier to get upset at yourself for not doing something, and continue on with your daily routine. That’s why “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now” is such a popular quote. The fundamental question to ask yourself is: do you want to feel the same way 1, 2, or 5 years from now? If the answer is no, then ask yourself how you can be strategic about that moving forward. How do you make sure that you don’t feel the same way next year as you do right now? The only way to fix that is through effort and action.
Small steps are still steps forward
If you already have concrete ideas such as skill development or taking specific steps towards earning a promotion, then go for it. If you don’t, that’s ok. Just start small. Talk to close peers who work with you on a daily basis. Ask for feedback. If you need a connection at a specific job, or for a mentor, just ask. And then, more importantly, follow up. Every time someone says “talk to so and so” take responsibility to actually go talk to them. It’s that simple.
Something that drives my partner and I crazy as recruiters is people who want to change but then don’t follow up. For instance, here’s a situation that happens about once a month: we go to networking events and we meet someone who says they don’t like where they live or their career or company. We reply that we’re recruiters and we know someone in their specific field, or preferred company, or industry. Then we take the time to make a warm intro. It’s up to you to hit reply on that email and start a conversation. It is literally that simple.
Expect career speed bumps
Any significant move is going to take you a little out of your comfort zone, and when it does it’s important not to let little bumps derail your efforts. Expect a few things to not go as expected, and then use it as a learning experience and keep taking those baby steps forward.
Most importantly, don’t fall into the trap of trying one new thing and then thinking you’ve tried everything. I hear this most often with individuals trying to change careers; they’ve applied for a bunch of jobs and haven’t received any callbacks, which is really trying the same thing a whole bunch of times. Which shows great persistence, but no strategy. You need both.
Ultimately the worst thing you can do is nothing. So think about where you want to be in 2018, and get moving!