The one constant is change
Change is certain. Companies get bought and reorganized. Fantastic bosses leave for greener pastures, and are replaced by bosses from hell. Folks get laid off. Your personal life changes as well. Your needs now are not what they were ten years ago; nor will they be ten years from now. Doing what you love is a lifelong process. Here are some suggestions to help you stay in control and ahead of career change; and in a nutshell, happier in your career.
- Stay current and connected with the trends in job search and the world of work, including your field and industry. Find career websites and other sources you trust. Refer to them regularly. Watch the market and your industry. Commit to being well versed in your area of expertise.
- Update your wish list at least once a year. Make a list of what you do want, and what you do not want—the latter equally important. Of course, it’s a good idea to do it more often, say quarterly.
- Document every wonderful thing you do at work to help build future resumes and to encapsulate what makes you valuable to employers. Make sure you capture data (such as increased revenue, cost savings, process improvements, customer ratings, and whatever metrics you have showing your benefit to the company). Keep a brag book.
- Stay connected online through social and professional networking sites; and in person through regular meetings – coffee in the morning, lunch at noon or just to get back in touch in the middle of an afternoon.
- Build your own “board of advisors”. Select a few folks you think are excellent mentors or connections in your life. Reach out to them regularly. Keep current with their careers and lives.
- Find someone you can mentor. I’ve found that mentoring others helps us grow and learn in the process. It keeps you on the ball and linked (remember the name, LinkedIn).
- Sharpen your saw regularly. Steven Covey had it right with his seventh habit. Assess your training and credentials. Refresh your business, technical, and people skills. Don’t stay idle. Push your envelope. Renew yourself. It renews your value to prospective employers as well.
- Enjoy what you do! There are no perfect jobs. But if you dread getting up and going to work on Monday morning, it may be time for a change. Either fix it or get out and into something new.
The days of what I call the “Golden Watch” are gone. Very few folks stay with one company for 30 years, get that thank-you watch and retire to the front porch. Stay on top of your career. Stay connected, keep your resume updated, and keep chasing those dreams. You’re CEO of your career!