We've all been there – that one interview question that throws us off track every time: "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" It used to puzzle me. As a high-potential, I embraced a myriad of experiences, going wherever the wind blew and where my leaders thought I could be of service. And you know what? It worked. I gained a lot from it.
So, why bother with a question about where I saw myself?
Looking back now, I realize I had unwittingly given away all my power. It wasn't until I said yes to the wrong thing that things started to unravel. I let someone else (or something else, let's be real, the organization) decide where they wanted me. It had nothing to do with what I wanted. A recent study from McKinsey suggests that the number one reason people quit their jobs in 2022 was the lack of career development and advancement and I'm curious... what responsibility lies with the organization, and what part lies with the employee.
Not knowing what you want is a big part of not getting it. How much more engaged would you be if you had a plan? If you knew what you wanted from your career instead of waiting for the clouds to part and magically reveal your next step. I'm not saying there isn't a huge need in many organizations to get their ducks in a row and be better at employee engagement, but you can actively take part and be empowered to get clarity about what you want.
In the hustle of day-to-day responsibilities, career planning often takes a backseat. We become so engrossed in the demands of the present that the future remains a distant thought, an abstract concept we'll deal with when the time is right. But here's the truth: the time is always right to start steering your career ship purposefully.
The Mid-Career Conundrum: Why We Don't Plan
Mid-career, mid-life. A point where you've accumulated experience, expertise, and perhaps a few battle scars. It's a juncture where you might find yourself at a crossroads, pondering if the path you're on aligns with the life you want to lead.
So, why don't we often plan our careers during this crucial phase?
- Comfort Zone Complacency: It's easy to get comfortable in the routine, especially when things seem to be going smoothly. The allure of familiarity can make us resistant to change.
- Fear of the Unknown: Diving into the unknown or contemplating a career shift can be downright scary. Fear often keeps us rooted in the familiar.
- Time Crunch: Between family responsibilities, personal commitments, and the relentless demands of a career, finding the time to sit down and plan seems like a luxury.
- Lack of Clarity: Many mid-career professionals grapple with a lack of clarity about their true passions and purpose. Without a clear destination, charting a course becomes a daunting task.
The Wake-Up Call: Career Planning as a Game-Changer
So, why bother with career planning in the midst of these challenges? Because, my friends, a well-thought-out career plan is your ticket to purposeful living and career fulfillment. It's the antidote to feeling stuck, the compass that guides you toward a future that resonates with who you are and what you want.
Empowering Your Career Journey: Beyond the 41% Statistic
Did you know that a staggering 41% of employees leave their jobs due to a lack of career development and advancement? It's a compelling statistic that shines a spotlight on a crucial aspect of professional life.
Here's the kicker: while organizations undeniably play a significant role in fostering career growth, the individual's contribution is equally vital. Let's break it down:
- Own Your Narrative: Start with self-awareness. Understand your strengths, values, and goals. Own your narrative by setting clear career objectives that align with your personal aspirations.
- Keep Learning, Keep Growing: In the era of constant change, the onus is on you to continuously learn and enhance your skills. Stay ahead by staying informed about industry trends and seeking opportunities for skill development.
- Network with Purpose: Your professional network is a powerful asset. Actively engage in networking, seek mentorship, and build relationships. It's not just about who you know but also about who knows you.
- Initiate Career Conversations: Don't wait for opportunities to come to you. Initiate conversations with your supervisors about your career aspirations, development plans, and growth opportunities within the organization.
- Craft Your Job, Craft Your Future: Job crafting is an art. Tailor your role to align with your strengths and preferences. Seek flexibility in your responsibilities to shape a job that fuels your passion and contributes to your career goals.
- Explore Opportunities: If growth is limited internally, explore external opportunities. Be proactive in seeking new roles that align with your evolving career goals.
- Feedback is Fuel: Actively seek feedback on your performance. Use it as a tool for improvement, identifying areas for development and actively working towards enhancing your capabilities.
So now, imagine waking up every morning excited about the work you're doing, feeling fulfilled, and knowing that your career aligns seamlessly with your life goals. It's not a distant dream; it's the reality that intentional career planning can bring.
Ready to transform your career journey? Take the leap, invest in yourself, and join us on February 20th for our workshop: "Career Planning for Mid-Career Professionals: The Next Phase of Your Career Journey." This workshop isn't just about planning; it's about unlocking the next phase of your career journey. Don't miss out – your future self will thank you.
Register Now: Career Planning Workshop - February 20th
Here's to purposeful career planning and the incredible journey that lies ahead!
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