Manage your career

Recently, I was hired to deliver a motivational speech on how staff can manage their personal careers, at an international company in an African country. Over the next couple of weeks, I will share under this column the ten key principles that you need to use in order to manage your career better than your peers so that you can rise above those around you.

1.         Set your goals: In your career, be clear about what is your end goal. In other words, by the time you will be retiring, what level will you have attained in your path? Will you have reached CEO level or director/head level? Do you want to end up at senior or junior manager level or below? You also need to break your goal down into smaller chunks. Where do you need to be in the medium term for you to achieve your intended long term goal? Finally, you need to determine your short term goals that feed into the medium term goal and through that into the long term goal.

2.         Define Your Path: To get to your goal, you need a path that can take you to your goal. If your intended end position is the CEO level, you need to be clear about the path that you will take that can realistically take you to the CEO position. Similarly if you want to retire at Director or Manager or supervisor level, you need to be very clear about the path that you need to take to achieve that goal. The path will have to be defined in terms of the function that you need to follow but also geographically where do you work. You may have to make some adjustments and sacrifices to your current path in order to close gaps between your current situation and the desirable position in the future.

3.         Build passion: I am yet to find a person who is extremely successful at what he or she does but they do not have passion for what they do. You need to have passion for what you do and you should do what you have passion for. Do not waste time on things you don’t really have passion for – in that case move on to things that you have passion for. If you cannot move on, then you need to build your passion for the job you do, for the career you find yourself in. There is no benefit in hanging onto a job we have no passion for.

4.         Get the Drive: I believe that to a large extent, luck or chance is created. Remember that we recently shared the quote that our Vice President the Right Honorable Saulos Chilima likes: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” You will be prepared if you have drive, if you work hard. You must go the extra mile. Do not put in the same hours as the average employee. Go the extra mile and show the results for your hard work. Your hard work must show and must add unique value. If you work extremely hard, it will be very difficult for your peers to beat you in performance or even to just match you.

If you are to excel in your career, do not outsource the management of your personal career to Human Resource (HR) Department. The HR Department does not have enough people to manage the careers of everyone. In fact, when they go far to manage the careers, they only manage for the few ‘lucky’ selected employees. Be sure and take full responsibility and ownership over your career. If you take full control of your career, you are bound to excel and you will sustain a healthy growth rate of your career. Those who do not manage their career, they may find their career stagnating from time to time. Do be there again next week when we will look at the next five of the ten principles that you need to effectively manage your personal career! Rise and Shine!

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