You might find yourself in a job because it was the first thing that came your way and you took it hoping what you really want comes soon. When the money started coming in you grew comfortable and complacent and your dream career eventually faded into oblivion. You are six years in, the pay isn’t that bad. You have climbed up a few rungs in the corporate ladder; and now that your head is touching a ceiling and your routine now bores the life out of you, you remember your first dream.
This is the story of most people. Their careers are defined by a series of events with very little contribution from their end.Modern career progression is deliberate and conscious. It is characterised by individuals proactively taking charge of the direction their careers will take then following through to reach their aspirations. Click To Tweet
Career management is hereby considered a critical skill to possess. It can be cultivated in different stages, depending on which stage of your career progression you are in. The six stages are listed below;
Career Assessment Stage
This should happen when you have just graduated, and are set on starting out in your career journey. During this stage, you don’t know much. You probably know a few of your strengths but aren’t fully self-aware. This is the time for you to get in touch with who you really are. Understanding your strenghths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats at this point will help you make the right career decisions.
If you skipped this stage, it is never too late. You just need to become self-aware, regardless of what level of experience you are in.
Career Investigation Stage
Once you become self-aware, you begin looking around you. You become more aware of how the world of work functions as you look at the options available to you. As you research, you might experience information overload and confusion may set in. Do not worry, this is the time to engage those who have gone ahead of you. Begin creating networks and learning from those with experience in the field you desire to join.
Career Preparation Stage
In this stage, you are excited about becoming a professional and an expert in your field of choice. You are now gaining knowledge and skills every day and building your professional profile. You should now begin setting goals for your career and adopt a success-oriented mindset.
Even though you might not be in a job or field of your choice, take every experience you are going through as knowledge building. The skills you gain might come in handy later in your career.
Career Commitment Stage
At this stage, you have chosen a career path and are confident it is what you want to do. You should now focus your energies on career growth and development in the role. Go back to school if you have to, grow your network in the industry and learn from them. As you excel, you will notice more responsibilities coming your way and even advance in your role.
Career Retention Stage
You are now confident and comfortable in your industry. You are even considered an influencer. People call upon you to give your opinion regarding different issues in that industry because you have mastered it all. You are now growing laterally by increasing your network of key stakeholders while being involved in projects and research.
Do not get too comfortable at this stage and relax. Do not stop learning new things in your industry. Continue growing your professional network and even begin mentoring the next generation of influencers in your industry.
Career Transition Stage
Once you have grown so big in your industry that there is no more room for growth, it might now be time to transition or develop resilience. Resilience is for those who would very much like continue being involved in the day-to-day operations of the companies they work for or own. Transition is for those who feel that it is now time to take a more advisory role in the companies they work for or own. They may join the board or leave to pursue other interests within or outside their industry. Remember at this point we are talking about professionals in the C-suite. The trick of getting this stage right lies in the timing. You do not want to rush and regret or wait too long and become a burden.
So, which stage of career progression are you in?
No matter which stage you are in right now, you are more empowered to take charge of your career direction. If you feel you still haven’t found your niche, it’s never too late. Keep discovering yourself. If you are already self-aware and you know what you want, go for it. Let nothing stop you.
What about entrepreneurs? Do they also experience these stages? Yes! Any successful entrepreneur worth their salt will tell you that they have assessed themselves and their business, they have investigated their ambitions and the industry. They then prepared and moved in. Once the rhythm of business caught on they became committed and remained steadfast in their vision and mission and then transitioned when the time was right. Of course, there will be the usual challenges and the trial and errors, but these stages are principles that you will find yourself entering and re-entering throughout your life.