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How To Navigate Your Own Career Development

career developmentWhen it comes to career development, I too often see professionals go about their jobs month after month, year after year without addressing their job concerns – present or future. Why is this?

First, let’s address why we have concerns in the first place.

All professionals have needs that vary depending on the length one has been on the job. But usually concerns arise because job duties are changing, there’s a lack of direction, no pay increases, and/or a general feeling that the professional is not appreciated for what they do for the organization.

Sometimes it’s not that simple. All the time, people feel tensions at work, but can’t put their finger on what’s really bothering them. As a Career Coach, this is often where I come in, helping people realize what they need in reference to their job or development. After that, we determine action steps, assuming it’s even the right time to deal with it.

Now, once concerns are realized, why do so many people do nothing about it?

From my experience in both HR and as a Career Coach, many people simply hope their employers are pleased with their work (even if the employee is dissatisfied), so when the next big change comes along in the department or company, the employee will hold on to their job. In other words, they settle.

This isn’t acceptable. If you see yourself settling, it’s time to take responsibility for your own career happiness!

Don’t know how to go about taking action? Let me give you an example. I have a client who hadn’t received a raise for several years, but no one else at the company had, either. When raises did finally come in, everyone got the same 2% raise, regardless of performance. Now, his boss has told him they want to add more responsibility to his role. But if they do that, shouldn’t he get more than the across-the-board 2% raise?!

So, he’s realized his concern, and he actually wants to take action and not settle. This is good! But now comes the even harder part – knowing how to really communicate about the concern without coming off as a complainer.

Let’s stick with the example I just shared with you. My advice was that he would be better off talking about where his growth could be within the organization instead of just asking for more money. This would show his employer that he wants to focus on values he can develop in order to elevate his role to another level, not just so he can get a raise. If he does this correctly, a raise will come with the promotion territory.

Here’s my point – when you have job concerns, and to find a solution take actionable steps to learn something new and advance your skill set, you always win. How? If for some reason there is a downsizing, you will either make the cut because of your skill set (a raise doesn’t matter if you’re not employed to begin with!), or you will have fresh, relevant work experience that few others in the job market will have.

Don’t be afraid to have a discussion with your manager about your future, skills you want to develop, and how you can play a part in the growth of the organization. Keep your finger on the pulse of your development – because after all, YOU are the only one responsible for your career happiness!