Steering Your Career

Years ago, there was an expectation that someone was supposed to work for a company their entire career.  They didn’t really have control over what they did, rather the company controlled their career future.  Today, we are much more fortunate.  The power to control a career has shifted in favor of the employee.  This is something to keep in mind as you steer your career.

As a young employee, there are a few guidelines to take to steer your career:

  • Keep an open mind.  There will be opportunities that present themselves to you.  It is easy to say “no,” but a challenge to say “yes” or “I’m interested.”  What is the harm in saying “I’m interested?”  There is nothing wrong with exploring the options presented to you.  It is worthwhile to explore the options, which will allow you to understand what your market worth is, as well as see if an opportunity is the right fit for you
  • Amount of time spent in your current role.  This is becoming less and less of a barrier to steering your career.  You should spend enough time in a role to fully understand what you are working on and be an expert in your processes and/or subject
  • Document your life and career goals.  Use your goals as a guiding compass for your career.  If you come across a role that aligns with your career goals, consider it
  • Salary is important, but not the only factor.  You may be introduced to a role with a massive salary increase over your current role.  If a higher salary also means you will be miserable in your role, do not jump for the higher salary.  Your quality of life is much more important than a salary in your early career
  • Don’t forget about your life.  If you want to try a different location, take your career with you.  It is worth taking that jump to try something different.  It is highly encouraged to put your life ahead of your career and do what makes you, as an individual, happy as opposed to your career

The common thread amongst these guidelines is your life comes first and your career fits into your life - not the other way around.  Keep in mind how the pieces work together and you will have a much more satisfying career and life.