Don't just dream of a new job

 

Leading career coach Tony Charles sees the start of a New Year as the time that many people think about their careers

OVER 20 years of working in public and private sector career consultancy in Wales has shown me that the start of a New Year is a time when many people think about whether the New Year will bring a change of career role.

 

challenge? Do you welcome the week ahead? Or is your job just plain boring and routine, using only a fraction of your talents?

Managers especially consider their futures at this time of year. Do you want to move up, sideways or downshift into a less stressful role to re-adjust work life balance? Or are there relationship problems with your superiors, colleagues or subordinates that require action?

 

The future may be a different role, but with the same employer, the same role with a different employer or in a different sector, or a complete career change or self-employment. We have more career choice today than at any time in history.

For years, many of us have just drifted along, letting others decide our careers, rather than actively managing our careers and taking control. That is, an opportunity comes up and we apply for it, or we rely on our employers to present us with new opportunities.

Well, the world of work has changed. Many employers are no longer able to offer the career ladders of opportunity that existed in the past. So, our career futures become our responsibility, and in this new scenario, career management becomes essential.

So if you fear that negative Monday morning feeling in 2006, or you feel now is the time to do something about improving your future, here are some tips:

 Consider what the ideal future would be. What are your aims for the longer term? What does success and happiness mean to you? For example, is success about power, responsibility and high income? Or is it about working in an ethical company, with nice people and getting high job satisfaction?

 Begin to look at what the possible career options could be. We very rarely set out on holiday without researching the options and comparing alternatives. Career planning is similar and also takes time and effort. What does the dream job look like? Where are you working? What are you doing? Who are you working with? What are the results of your work and what benefits do they bring to others?

 Consider whether your personal values still match the values of your employer. Many organisations have mission statements but do the objectives of your employer synchronise with and support your own career objectives?

 Review the way your career has developed to date and the stage you are at now. With the skills, experience and personality that you have, are you in the most suitable role or with the right employer?

Do a personal career SWOT - look at your strengths, weaknesses, the opportunities and threats. If there are barriers to progress such as a lack of a certain qualification or experience, look to put that right.

 Seek the views and support of someone who knows you well and who can help you discover your true potential and perhaps act as a mentor. Maybe consider doing some personality profiling to find out more about your strengths, weaknesses, preferred work environment and possible new careers you could consider.

 Making a career change does not usually happen over night, so be prepared in 2006 to take a long term view and put time and effort into your career thinking to make the right changes in your life rather than dashing off into something completely unsuitable from your current situation.

Remember that there is no such thing as the perfect job. All jobs have their downside. So can you make more of the job you have by enriching it in some way or by changing your approach to your current role?

Career Coach Tony Charles, based in Wales, UK writes on "Don't just dream of a new job" .  Reproduced from the "Western Mail"  the national
daily newspaper of Wales, UK. Jan 11 2006

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