Whose career is it, anyway?

Word cloud focused around Career Development

I wandered into my career by chance.

From liberal arts major, to business intelligence software design and development, to Director of a technology consulting division, to leadership geek …

There’s a thread connecting it all, but I can only see it in hindsight. (More than a thread, really; it’s a consistant theme from early childhood of understanding people’s motivations, needs, and desires, and seeing patterns and options for moving forward. I can explain further if you want to know more (contact form opens in new tab) – but I wouldn’t have been able to until four or five years ago!)

I don’t want to change any of it; it all plays into what I do now, and why I do it. But nonetheless I have great admiration for people who are intentional about their careers. I read about successful people who have plotted out a fulfilling and financially rewarding career from college, maybe an advanced degree, and into their work lives, and I’m just in awe.

I’m happy with where I am – very happy, because I love what I do – but I also wonder if I could have gotten here sooner, with less flailing, frustration, and uncertainty. Because up until I started my own business – and, if I’m being honest, not until some time into that endeavor – I simply allowed myself to bob along like a cork in the stream.

Whose career is this, anyway?

It’s mine, but I allowed circumstance, chance, and various managers and bosses to push me in one direction or another, without ever really taking ownership or control of where I was going.

If you’re doing that, I invite you to take a step back.

Look at the trajectory of where you’ve been, and think about where you really want to go.

And then, of course, consider what it will take to get you there.

Entrepreneurs know we need to invest in our learning and professional development – or we won’t be successful. We write the checks to hire coaches and take classes.

People working in organizations tend to think their company should pay for their professional education and support.

If that sounds like you, you might want to reconsider. Personally investing in your career pays off in many ways, including being able to set your own direction, moving toward what you want versus where the stream takes you – or where your current manager thinks you “should” go. You’ll reap the rewards faster and more plentifully than you might think.

Whose career is it, anyway?