It can be a daunting task to figure out the next step in your career path. It would be so easy if you could just reach out to someone and have them figure all this out for you. You could hold them accountable for the outcomes and you would likely sleep a whole lot easier each night. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Your career path is just that – “your career path”. You own it and you are the main character in a journey that will undoubtedly have up and downs, successes and opportunities to learn and the satisfaction of knowing that you made this happen.
You can reach out to others along the way for guidance. You are responsible for acquiring a mentor – ideally a trained mentor that can guide you along the way. They will ask the right questions to help you find the answers that you are searching for. They see things that others may not. You will be tasked however with all the heavy lifting as “you own your career path!” With the large number of mentoring relationships that I am involved in the folks that I spend time with all know and accept that I am their guide but they own the outcomes – they are accountable for the outcomes.
I usually like to encourage people to do some reflecting on where they have been, where they are today and where they would like to be tomorrow. We can also reflect on what helped us get to where we are today and what we might want to do differently on a personal note and from a career or professional aspect.
We need to look at what the options are which would include what is available in the market today. Perhaps our strategy may need to change as a result of a slow economy where the job market and/or a specific skill set is on the decline. Some jobs require a number of years’ experience which is difficult to get without someone creating an opportunity for you. You would want to sketch out your options in this situation.
Once we have evaluated our options we can then decide on our goals. What is our vision for the perfect job and how might we attain that job. Do we see ourselves in that role in 2-3 years or is that something that is further out. Do we see ourselves in a progressive leadership role? What skills and abilities do we need to develop in order to be successful in achieving our goals? If you’re passionate about technology development, try out different software engineer jobs until you find the right fit for you. Or maybe you’ll find out this is not what you actually want to do.
Also read: Mentoring and Finding Purpose
Our final step is to develop a plan that will support the career path that we have visualized. The plan would include all the steps, the tools we need and how and when we would acquire them. We would want some flexibility in the plan to allow for external factors that are out of our control. What if the job market changes and alters our time frames?
We would want to make sure that we review the plan on a regular basis as it is a living and breathing document. You need to be flexible and allow for adjustments to that plan.
Engaging a trained mentor to work with you through this journey is a wise decision. Mentorship should be a crucial part of your career path plan. Understanding the career path process is much easier when you work with your mentor.
Embrace “The Gift of Mentoring” and begin your career path journey!
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