Career development has traditionally been viewed as upward mobility—climbing up the corporate ladder, figuring out how to get that next promotion, and solidifying your position in a company for 10, 15, or even 20+ years.
But career development today paints a vastly different picture. In recent years we’ve seen an evolution from this traditionally vertical path to a more customized career path. Workers today, especially younger generations, are no longer interested in climbing the proverbial corporate ladder and staying with one organization for their entire careers. This new generation wants a more personalized, unique, ‘create your own path’ approach to career development and overall success.
With many workers now defining success by experience, it’s important for individuals, HR leaders, and managers alike to take control of their career destiny and foster an environment of support and inspiration. In celebration of National Career Development Month, here are a few ways to start jumpstarting your career development:
The first thing to understand about career development is that its success lies in the hands of the beholder. It’s up to the individual to decide what they want for their future and take the necessary steps to make it happen. I know that may seem daunting and like an overwhelming task, but by being intentional, investing in micro-moments, and surrounding yourself with the inspiration you’ll realize that when it comes to your future, anything is possible.
While career development ultimately is driven by the individual themselves, HR leaders and managers can play a critical role by providing the right type of culture. In order for employees to feel confident enough to branch out, be proactive, and go after their dreams, they need a supportive work environment.
Leaders and managers should get to know each employee as an individual and encourage them to create their own paths. In my experience, I’ve found that the best managers are really good at pattern spotting. They get to know the employee as a person and start to see things in that person that the employee may not have even realized themselves. Good managers will push their employees to self-examine, to be intentional, and to seek out learning opportunities. They will help their teams grow in ways they didn’t know were possible. Together, they can make career dreams become a reality.
National Career Development month is a great opportunity for us all to self-reflect. Where are we now? Where do we want to be? And what actions do we need to take to get there? Remember, career development comes down to you and the actions you take. I encourage all of you to challenge yourself regularly and find one thing every day to try differently, something that scares you, something to take you out of your comfort zone, or something you want to learn. By intentionally pushing yourself little by little every day, you will build your muscles of courage, independence, and success. And you will be able to define the career path that you want.
Now that I’ve shared all of my best-kept secrets on career development, I challenge you – What action will you take today?
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