(Thanks Jane for your question)
When it comes to career ownership, in my book, it really does not matter if you’re 50, 40, 30 or 20. In an interconnected world, where we are all free agents we must be able to own our career and run it like a business. For that reason the advice that I give about career ownership in this blog (and in my upcoming book), has no generational boundaries.
To not risk being dragged by someone else’s vision or risk working towards someone else’s dreams, you need to follow a set of principles and have strategies in place. The fact is that it’s never too late or too early to be in the seat of power of your career.
To achieve that you need to:
- Work as an owner-employee. In career-speak this simply means that as an employee you should work with an employer, not for them. In my mind, continuing to see yourself as ‘someone who works for another’ (which by the way is the dictionary’s definition of employee) is a form of self-imposed slavery. In my book that makes for cog-employees.
- Take full responsibility for your career growth – and do something about it. As the one responsible for the outcomes in your career, you need to be able to change behaviours that get in the way of your goals. I’ve personally found that by applying to my work-life a combination of techniques from Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Positive Psychology, I have been able to improve myself on an ongoing basis. Doing so is what guarantees that I don’t get stuck in self-sabotaging patterns.
- Know your key assets. Self-assessing your personality style, your skills (and strengths), your values and interests is what enables you to know what rewards motivate you and what you offer to an employer. Aside from this information being crucial for your sense of self-worth, it’s also very powerful when negotiating your next pay-package.
- Have a strategic plan. A strategic career plan is what will enable you to make sound decisions for your career. I personally find that planning my career in 5-year chunks gives me enough vision forward yet leaves me flexibility to change my course. Regardless of the time-frame that you use to plan your own career, what’s most important is that you set out working with the end in mind.
- Have systems and processes in place that support your day-to-day work. Quite simply, having a formula for consistently delivering high quality results is what ensures that you add value to an employer. In exchange for great work, you have the option to command more money and more benefits.