Category : BLOG
Managing a career path can take a backseat as people get carried away and distracted by office politics and gossip. To find job satisfaction, I had to self reflect early on about my personal preferences. I asked myself “what kinds of things appeal to me in my career so far?”, and “What would make me happy at work and better focused?”, I took it upon myself to discover “the things that made me tick.
I had figured out that since I spent many hours at work in the office everyday it was important for me to personalize goals, be honest with myself about where I was in my career, and what I was able to offer including my expectations about the type of support I could receive from my leader (I am limiting my discussion about leader within this post to relationships with people I used as role models who were playing a mentoring and coaching role towards my career growth).
How To Do Self Reflection
In the 18 years of work experience, my self reflection was about finding job satisfaction as I navigated through my career path, not so much in how to improve the status of my job. I found myself shifting from indifference at work to the feeling of job satisfaction derived from doing things right. This is the yardstick I decided to go by in determining whether I was happy at work or not. Even though I am now working more with clients than in the office, I am still advocating for mentoring and coaching at all levels of the organisation.
Stages of career management | Lessons learnt
– assessing personal developmental needs is very important
– a give and take relationship between employee and leader is fundamental
– mentoring and coaching is beneficial when pitched at the right level
I believe that a leader should always be ten steps ahead of his or followers in terms planning and advancement, however close enough to inspire and infuence.
My intention is to share a story and lessons learnt in my own career path. Hopefully as you go through your own career journey, you can make the best of the experience at each stage in your career path.
I came to the conclusion that there are four stages in self reflection when managing a career path:
Stage 1: This stage is where I was seeking constant guidance and precise instructions to be backed up by policies and procedures so that I could practice exactly how I should do things to be sure that I was on the right track. I valued my leader’s support in providing me constructive feedback about how I was doing. The measures of success where mostly linked to compliance, speed and quality. I appreciated constant validation.
Stage 2: At this stage I realised that I was able to do more without requiring validation and approval. I got comfortable to initiate ideas, my role was not only about what I had to do anymore, I began to see the links between my role and other members of the team. I could easily coordinate as well as apply less abstract concepts. My contribution was essential to the success of the team.
Stage 3: With this stage I didn’t rely on instructions, my creativity catapult to new heights. My confidence levels were raised, I needed a less structured environment for flexibility to apply my knowledge and experience. Research and implementation of best practices became more integrated into my everyday work. Engaging with people outside of my own team was now comfortable. My leader’s role was merely to oversee delivery and attend to challenges escalated. Success here was depicted through impact on cross functional areas of business, I was creating value and more was expected of me beyond my responsibilities.
Step 4: At this stage, which is where I am now is where I enjoy research and integrating new thinking around trends and analytics. The capability to lead, influence and collaborate is stronger. Feedback is mainly for continuous improvement from a broader audience spectrum and what I do is mostly creating organisational impact, beyond divisional targets.
Having said all this, whilst it took me about 8 years to get to stage four, millennials navigate through these stages in a shorter career life-cycle. What is important to take from this message is not about age and how fast one gets to operate at a particular level, it is about prioritizing self reflection, understanding its contribution to career growth, job satisfaction, happiness at work including the importance of mentoring and coaching in fast tracking your career.