Professional Development Series, Topic of the Week

Career Development is a Personal Responsibility

Who do you think is responsible for developing your career? Depending on who you ask, there is disagreement about whether it should be the responsibility of an individual or an employer.

My opinion: The responsibility for career development starts with the individual and evolves into a partnership with the employer. Over eleven years ago, I made a conscious decision to step into an extremely rewarding career. From the inception, I took personal responsibility for my career path by investing in my personal and professional growth. My efforts led to four major promotions to my current role as a branch manager. It certainly does not end there for me.

As a branch manager, I’ve seen first hand that standing still in any job, regardless of your position, means becoming bored and demotivated. To stay motivated, we need to continually self-develop, push our own boundaries, step out of our comfort zones and promote ourselves in terms of goals, next steps and self-development. Here is how I’ve maintained a rewarding career and secured major promotions.

  • Got to know myself really well: I took the time to get to know myself and my career ambitions well enough to recognize the necessary career investments I needed to make and determined my wisest career investment path. I did this by making an inventory of my natural strengths that allowed my skill sets and capabilities to thrive. For example, after I realized that I was a natural leader, I gained a better understanding of the leadership competencies I needed to be recognized as a leader in my industry. I shared my career aspirations with my supervisors, sought out mentorship and coaching opportunities, took leadership development training and more importantly began acting as a leader.
  • Never stopped learning: After determining my career path, I began investing my time to gain the right intelligence through formal learning and development activities. This gave me the know-how to accelerate my career advancement. The goal is to get smarter, wiser and more strategic about how to better manage your career.  
  • Invested in the right relationships: I intentionally built relationships with key thought leaders in my industry whose leadership style I admired. I also created a personal advisory board who properly assisted with guiding my career goals and also held me accountable to achieving those goals. My circle of influence helped to curate my management style. I have to admit that I did not consider a career coach but if that is what you need to sustain momentum, please do so.
  • Built and refined my Brand: I am a strong believer that if you do not write and tell your story, someone else will do it for you. I prepared and refine my elevator speech and established a professional presence by taking advantage of opportunities to display my skills at meetings, training sessions, conferences and so on.
  • created balance between my personal and professional life: To me success is achieving your personal and professional goals without having to sacrifice one for the other. To achieve professional success, I had to achieve balance in my professional and personal life. I still rely on my family and personal friends to help clear my mind and enrich my points of view.   I am also deliberate in engaging in activities separate from my career which broadened my observations and appreciation for new types of ideas and ideals. This helped to shape my thinking  and contributed to your professional  growth. Specifically, I started blogging which assisted with a break in monotony of my day to day duties.

The strategies described above will help you to be pointed regarding your goals but remember, you must display your skills through activities that will get you recognized. Drop me a line and let me know your thoughts on career development.

(1) Comment

  1. Malissa says:

    This is a good read

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