It is difficult with a career: at first, you do not know which direction to choose, then you doubt whether it is the right one, and even if the work is your favourite, you can turn sour on it.
We asked several HRs:
– what kind of animal is it, a career strategy?
– will it save you from focus, burnout and self-disappointment?
– what questions should be asked?
– and what to do if you are already lost?
When do you need to think about a career strategy: at the start of work or when you feel that you need to change something?
A career strategy is needed at any stage of the working life. It draws key points on the way to the goal, helps to understand what skills will be needed in the future, and makes it possible to acquire them gradually and thoughtfully. For example, if you want to work abroad, the strategy will give you time to learn the language.
The annoying question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” is not so bad if you paraphrase it to “How do I see my life?”. Even if the answer is “I don’t work and I live with an ocean view,” a career strategy will help you achieve that state.
The main thing for building a strategy is understanding the benchmark you want to come to. In a situation of career stagnation, for example, there may not be such a target point – for a start, a person needs to cope with burnout or even depression.
What happens if there is no strategy?
We can’t say that everything will be bad. There is simply a greater risk of being disappointed at the end of the road and thinking: “Why did I spend so many years on THIS, when all my life I dreamed of something completely different.” Career strategy is for those who understand the value of time.
Without a strategy, of course, it is possible, but there is a great risk that the path to the coveted sphere or position will be thorny. De-focus, a fortune on learning whose skills are not being used. Remember how it was in “Alice In Wonderland”? If you don’t know where you need to go, it doesn’t matter where you go.
At the same time, it is important to understand that all people are different – there are those who are comfortable working in the same position for many years, doing the same thing. And that’s okay, this also has a career strategy. If everyone around them were incredibly ambitious, no one would perform some of the tasks – everyone would be busy with their rapid growth.
Okay, I think I need a strategy. How do I start? Whatshould it look like?
To summarize, there are three main career tracks:
- vertical – a standard track in the form of a career ladder, where you rise up from a junior position to a managerial position and beyond;
- expert (horizontal) – you expand and / or delve into a function / industry of interest to you. Quite often people go freelancing on this track;
- entrepreneurial – you create something of your own and gradually scale your business.
In a career strategy, you can combine several tracks at once. For example, based on knowledge of the industry and the needs of the target audience with which a person worked, he can create his own product that will cover the needs of this audience. A freelancer can create his own company, attract more clients and employees for their tasks and scale the business through cross-function and client needs.
Strategy is always about vectors:
- where to move on;
- are there opportunities at the current place of work and what needs to be learned for this;
- If not, where to go and what are the risks to be prepared for.
It may be a trivial map in Miro, where you draw: I am at point A, in order to come to point B, I need – and then you build options for the path. In parallel, you can formulate achievements for yourself that will help you move on to the next stage: what skills you need to acquire, what projects to defend.
In career tracks for our guys at NoFrames, we often build a plan in the context of six months – but this is also flexible. Having tried to move along the intended path, after a month a person can wake up and understand that this is not at all what he wants to do.
It’s hard to sit down like this and figure out what I want. Are there any tools?
Remember: always in your areas of interest and always based on your strengths.
First of all, determine point A where you are now: your strengths, experience, education, tools, circle of your interests and current area of responsibility.
Next, choose point B where you want to come: it can be a specific position, your own company, or even early retirement. The more details you write, the easier it will be to build a path.
But you need to understand that a career is not a static thing. It will be subject to changes, therefore, it is necessary to return to the strategy at least once a year. Don’t be afraid to revisit the B-point – it will help you stay tuned and transform your experience, adding value and expertise.
Little life hack: it is convenient to promote a career plan “from above”, from a big goal to a small one.
You can try focusing on more than just your career strategy. Ask the question where andhow yousee yourself in six months, what do you dream of, but not only within the framework of work – perhaps you want to move, change your image, master a new hobby. Compare the motivation “I want more money” and “I want to go on a trip around the world.”
There are goals, there is a plan, but I’m still slipping – what’s the matter?
Perhaps, building a map, you overestimated your strengths, gained a lot of tasks and do not have time to self-develop or learn from someone else’s experience. It seems that no one is pressing, but the plan is built and there is an inner feeling that you need to do everything in time. It’s important to give yourself the right to slow down – this is your career track, you can influence it and you don’t have to run forever if a fast pace doesn’t suit you.
And you also need to periodically ask yourself these questions:
Am I cool now?
Do I like what I am doing?
Do I like what I am studying, or am I doing it because I have to?
And who needs – me or the leader with whom we built this track?
It is important to return to yourself with these questions – otherwise, it will not be possible to understand whether you are moving there, unfortunately.
There is also the trap of fear of change. It is always scary to go into the unknown and the new: to someone because of responsibility, to someone because of the fear of failure. Here, again, a psychologist will help. And there is another option – to talk to a career consultant. Sometimes we set ourselves high goals and do not understand how to approach them. Therefore, we procrastinate.
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