Are you looking for career success? Are you succeeding in your career?
Your answer almost certainly depends on what you mean by “success”. Definitions of career success have changed and every person has his or her view of what success means. Therefore, if you are looking for career success what are you looking for? Do you know?
Career success in the past meant joining a profession or industry grouping and over time gaining promotions within the same field and often in the same organisation. Progress continued throughout the first part of someone’s working life, although many people tried to get promoted into a good job before the age of forty. Many people said it was almost impossible to change jobs after the age of fifty.
When retirement finally came, the act of retiring was almost like jumping off a cliff. One day a person had a responsible job, the next he or she had a pension but no job and was no longer part of a workforce.
Careers tended to progress in a linear fashion. A secondary teacher, for example, began a career teaching a subject. That teacher gained promotion by taking on more responsibilities. After being a head of department, that same teacher would probably try to become an assistant head teacher or a deputy head teacher and eventually a head teacher.
This sort of linear career was once very popular but it is less so today.
Changing Career Structures
Today, someone could change careers five or six times in a lifetime at work and not be thought eccentric. For example, someone might qualify as a solicitor in mid-life or take up teaching or stop being a professional musician. Some people choose to have a portfolio career and undertake several types of work at once – often on a part-time basis. Such a person could have part-time employment, a consultancy practice or hold a training role with several organisations all at the same time.
The important point to remember is that these people manage their portfolios themselves. They juggle with their different commitments.
It is also more common today for people to leave careers behind and do something different. Have you done that?
Your Career Experience
Your career expectations deal with what you want your career to look like. If you want a linear career, and if you want to stay in a particular industry or profession, you are more likely to be disappointed today. There are fewer opportunities to stay within a particular segment of the employment market for a lifetime.
Today people’s career expectations have to take into account what is happening to work and how it is organised. That means you may have to:
- re-skill several times to remain employable
- learn totally new skills
- gain additional qualifications
- gain different experience.
Finally . . .
All of this means that today you are more likely to create your own career and your perception of success will guide your actions. Do you know, for example, what you want to be doing in ten years’ time?
Are you taking steps to ensure you succeed? Are you making sure you succeed?