We need to adopt an approach to establishing and maintaining our career development progress – how we set and achieve goals in our career so we can grow in our character, competencies, and wellness, while also attending to the practical requirements for looking after ourselves and those who share our lives.
As much as our career is based upon practical experiences and growth, it is also about growing our character, competencies and wellness. The ambition of our work should be to not only to succeed in a literal sense, but also to aspire to be a better, more whole person tomorrow than we are today. Our Career Development progress is about engaging in ongoing reflection, authoring our own narrative of ambition and purpose, and adapting as our life, and our world, move around us.
Reflection is essential. It helps us identify the mistakes of today so we can avoid making them tomorrow. In a career sense, this is everything from reflecting on the velocity of our growth to considering whether or not our career path is fulfilling us. This reflection is a core component of our progress. If we are not growing or we feel that our efforts are being invested in the wrong direction, then it is important to identify this and take steps to remedy it. Sometimes these decisions can be hard. It might mean leaving a position that we have spent several years working in, or making the choice to change our career path. If this is one of the key parts of our progress, then our progress needs to be ongoing and regular. Checking in with ourselves and those around us about our career trajectory and our alignment with it will help us in conceptualising our today in order to decide whether or not it’s what we want for our tomorrow.
"Unless a man believes in himself and makes a total commitment to his career and puts everything he has into it - his mind, his body, his heart - what's life worth to him?"
Moreover, our career progress ought to be considered within the context of the writing of the story of our development. Our responsibility is to author a narrative of aspiration, purpose, agency, and good decision making. This is as much about knowing our current relationship with each of these components of our career as it is about reflecting on the progress we have made in understanding them over the years.
We also have tangible responsibilities in our career progress. We need to keep track of the qualifications, accreditations and other valuable information that play a role in our career development program. We need to be actively researching new, innovative methods to incorporate into our career program as well as seeking out hands-on work and leadership experiences that will sponsor us in our professional growth. We need to pay attention to the program requirements of our academic studies, and consider how they affect our career progression. Finally, we need to be committed to building connections and expanding our reach through meeting new people and leaving a positive and lasting impact on them. If we believe that our career progress can be viewed as the narrative of our career development, then the network we build holds the supporting characters of our story, whose appearance and purpose are essential to its composition.
Our career progress must be ongoing and intentional. It must have a clear understanding of what needs to be done and how to do it. While we cannot predict everything that will happen, committing to ongoing preparation and revision through planning and adaptation will equip us with the competencies and skills to get the job at hand done, and to solidify our sense of vocation.
We can contemplate our Career Development Progress through considering the following questions: