We need to build our career development program – how we manage our processes of enrolment or entry into a specific program of career development and how we design them to match our best understanding about what we enjoy and what we are good at doing
What do we envision for ourselves in the future? Whether we aspire to a certain profession, a series of achievements or financial security, our ambitions that we incorporate into our career development program need to be specific, manageable and planned. Basing them upon what we enjoy, what we are good at doing and what we value is the basis of our program having meaning. Doing so causes our program to align with our interests, and inspires us to keep going as we embark on the journey.
We start by considering what is important to us. What we value in our present or what we seek for our future should be used to create the long term goals that we set for ourselves within our career. Devoting time to interrogating these, writing them down and considering the place they hold within our heads and hearts will help us to grasp what we know today that can help us on our journey to success and fulfilment.
We then need to ascertain what we will need to know, do, be, and learn for tomorrow. Researching and looking to the centres of knowledge around us for information and advice can help us to turn grey space that causes confusion when trying to plan our career into something which is black and white. We can learn what our options actually are. We can get specific instruction on the path that is required to get there. We can then move forward with planning the journey: the checkpoints, the timings, and the end goal. This can help us feel more prepared and clear about what it is we want and need to do.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.”
We need now to develop for ourselves a program of how we might want our career to develop. Depending on where we are on The Pathway to Excellence, this may appear straightforward or it may be a mystery that is yet to be solved. It is fanciful to imagine that we might be able to plot every step our career will take. Nonetheless, with the advice of careers counsellors, friends and family, and our mentors, we can begin to identify what we enjoy and what we're good at. From this, we can explore the best options for education and work in fields that may, in time, become the fulfilment of a sense of calling. If this seems too much, the very least we can do is eliminate those options that simply do not appeal. It does not really matter whether or not we are proved correct by the passage of years. What matters right now is that we know where we need to get to next, the competencies we need to acquire to help us get there, the education and experience that can provide these, and the meaningful work we can do in the meantime. We need to review this plan on a regular basis to calibrate it against the way our life is progressing.
After this point, we are freed from indecision. We just need to get started. Once we have begun, how do we stay on track? On our journey, we are likely to face many challenges to which we don’t have immediate or perfect answers. What will we do if we lose our job? What will we do if we don't like our job? What we will do if we cannot find a job at all? In these moments, returning to our original process, our original plan and our original intentions will help to realign us our aspirations and shine light on what might come next. Accepting that there are things we cannot control, and being willing to adapt and revise our focuses as we continue is the final task in our program. This does not mean we should not plan our career. It means that we should always be planning, and always be considering what is important to us within our career, and how we are going to achieve it.
We can contemplate our Career Development Program by considering the following questions: