Having a career plan is essential. If you work for a company that offers career planning as a part of your professional development, you are incredibly fortunate. But be cautioned: the career path you create with your current employer is one that is in alignment with their corporate goals and growth. It only works for you if it works for them.
If you have taken the time to build a long-term career vision, you will be ready to capitalize on internal and external opportunities and you can easily pivot when the time comes.
One of the most important aspects of a clear career vision is understanding your values.
I took a job once with a company that was so bottom-line oriented that everyone gamed the system. It was the epitome of a sales culture whose only thought was “What have you done for me lately?” I struggled to present numbers that were manipulated. I didn’t believe real growth could be projected from fake numbers. It went against my values of candor, credibility and perseverance. This was a culture where the ends justified the means. It was a total mismatch.
At the time, I thought I knew myself. I thought I was clear on who I was and what I was looking for in my next position. I learned from this experience that I didn’t ask enough questions about the culture. I ignored red flags about the environment that I now know are important for me in terms of a good working atmosphere and key indicators of shared values.
But the biggest mistake I made was that I was looking for a job, not planning the next steps of my career.
I spent so much time networking and perfecting my resume, but I never sat down and did a thorough self-assessment. I didn’t have a long-term career vision that spoke to the core of who I was.
As a career coach, I hope to prevent others from making the mistake I made. Take the time now to create a clear career vision. It’s the key to creating the best fit for yourself in the future.