I am an advocate of a great many things in regards to one’s career. One of those things is continuous learning. That can include a wide range of activities, including attending webinars and conferences and earning industry-specific certifications.
It also includes reading books.
Since we’re firmly entrenched in the digital age, it doesn’t matter how those books are delivered. It could be on a Kindle or other device or it could be an actual, physical, good ol’ fashioned . . . book.
Regardless, I read one recently that had quite an impact and also lined up perfectly with certain trends that I’m seeing in the employment marketplace. That book is The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.
A case study in responsibility
One of the main themes of The Success Principles is that you must take 100% responsibility for your life instead of blaming others for what happens. This principle is applicable to both your personal life and your professional life. In other words, you must take ownership and responsibility for your career, and that includes where you are in your career and how happy you are about it.
It might not surprise you to know that I have a case study that pertains to exactly this concept.
I was recently speaking with an individual who has been with the same company for almost 20 years. She was complaining that her company has her train all of the new employees and then later the company promotes them above her current position.
This person suspects that these new employees are also getting paid more than she is. She gets about a 1% cost-of-living increase every year. As a result, she is earning less than people who I place in similar entry-level roles within organizations.
And she is complaining about her current situation. As you can see, there’s a problem with this. If her employer . . .
- Requires her to train all of the new employees and then promotes those employees over her
- Pays her less than these new employees
- Only gives her a 1% cost-of-living raise every year
. . . then why is she still working for that employer? That is a valid question considering the circumstances surrounding the situation.
Answers to tough questions
There are two ways to grow your career, and this applies to everybody. You can grow your career with your current employer or you can grow it by leaving your current employer and taking a new position with another organization.
So it doesn’t matter which path you choose. Either way, career growth IS possible. However, if you’re curious as to whether or not you’re taking 100% responsibility for your career, ask yourself the following series of questions:
- Am I happy with where I am in my career?
- If I’m not happy, why am I not happy?
- What are the factors that are contributing to my unhappiness?
- How much control or influence do I have over those factors?
- What specific steps can I take to improve my situation?
- Who is ultimately responsible for changing and/or improving my situation?
As you can see, these are tough questions. They require tough answers. The reality is that YOU are responsible.
If you want to grow your career, either with your current employer or with a different organization, then you must take 100% responsibility for that growth. What does that mean? It means being willing to take the action steps that are necessary. And make no mistake about it: since you are ultimately responsible, action on your part is necessary.
A three-step action plan
So what can you do? What action can you take? Well, it’s a combination of changing your mindset and then being prepared to take action based on that change of mindset. Specifically, there are three things that you can do:
#1—Be open to considering new opportunities.
As we’ve discussed before, this does not mean automatically agreeing to leave your current employer for a new job at another organization. Being open to considering new opportunities means that the only thing you’re agreeing to . . . is being open to new opportunities. You’re NOT committing to anything. But if you’re not open to anything, then how can you change your situation for the better?
#2—Do NOT let fear stop you from moving forward.
Fear of change has stopped many people from taking the proactive steps necessary to grow their careers. That fear has stopped people from leaving situations where they were unsatisfied and even downright unhappy and searching for new opportunities elsewhere. When you allow fear to dictate your actions, you’re moving from a position of weakness. When you move from a position of weakness, you almost always eventually find yourself in a position of greater weakness. And that is not the path to career growth and fulfillment.
#3—Align yourself with an experienced recruiter with a history of success.
A recruiter like this has experience placing candidates just like you. They have experience helping you to find opportunities better than the one you currently have. However, they can’t find these opportunities and better your career without your consent and participation. They can work on your behalf, but the process still requires action on your part. It requires you to reach out to a recruiter and start building a relationship with them. They can help you take 100% responsibility for your career and they can help you find the job satisfaction that you crave in the process.
Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame other people. Take responsibility for your career and take responsibility for your actions.
By the way, I highly recommend that all professionals should read The Success Principles.
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