It is stating the obvious that in the 21st century, people will be working for a very long time. Some will create a lot of wealth and be capable of stopping early and enjoying the fruits of their labour. Most, however, will need to work much longer than previous generations to be able to fund a long life. When we are young, time seems less important somehow.
As we get older, we realize that time still stretches ahead of us and that we need to be smart about how we build and develop our career when our energies are reducing and sometimes our self-esteem is reducing also. Things happen in life that make it so. Remember, a career conscious community enables us to stay connected and see what we can gain from other like-minded professionals. It keeps our energy high.
1. More so than ever before in history, we seek fulfillment from our work in order to optimize our life, our time and our working career. We are desperate to work in an environment that is of meaning to us. If you like to think of this as value-based employment, that would be what we’re talking about. How much time and effort is your organization putting into engaging with you and their other employees? An important element of finding fulfillment with our employer is being clear about what fulfillment means to us. Using a career development club can help us achieve this clarity.
2. We need to be in charge. Gone are the days when we can expect the organization to make our decisions and map out our working life for us. Another thing is that our working life plays such a big part in our overall life that we can’t afford not to be in control of it. Today’s working life is going to take up at least 25% of total life for most people.
3. The rate of change in the global economy and the impact on local economies means that there is uncertainty for pretty much everybody. Putting uncertainty and the amount of time our working life takes up together, it makes sense for us to be far more in control of what our options are at any stage in our career, rather than being a victim of circumstance that we can always argue we didn’t see coming.
4. Recognize the importance of improving yourself every day, every week, every month. If we are not conscious of the importance of our personal development or technical knowhow or any other aspect of who we are and what we do, we put ourselves in a weaker position than that of other career conscious professionals who are genuinely disciplined in their work. Why would we want to sell ourselves short? Why would we want to be putting ourselves in a position of vulnerability?
5. Get what you want out of your career. You are the only person who can live your life. You’re the only person who can make your working life professional and fulfilling. At this stage you’ll have choices. Those choices will be predicated on how much you have taken the issue of being a career conscious professional seriously. Have you put time and effort into becoming better and better as time has gone on? Doing the same thing over and over does not necessarily make you better.
As the world gets better, more sophisticated, more efficient, so too do workers and the economies have to be like that too. It’s about perseverance—you don’t go from something not looking good to looking sparkly in one step. It’s usually about many little contributions that make it a continuous process and so it should be for a career conscious professional.
One of best ways of dealing with all of these points is to become a member of a career conscious community where you can have access to learning, different media and a community where you can speak, a community where you can listen, a community that allows you to open up in the way that’s most appropriate for you.
Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition, one of the UK’s leading career consultancy companies which created the Career Ignition Club, a leading-edge online careers support and learning platform. Follow him @PosIgnition