Strategists in Human Capital!
Affinity International Consulting presents Futurepoint

Monday, November 4, 2013

Taking Control of your Career

This article is based on the free eBook "Careering Ahead - Getting by, getting on or getting ahead?"What you ought to know about your career and how to take control over it

Let’s start with a question: Which of these career paths do you feel you are following at the moment?

Are you just getting by?
Are you getting on?
Or are you getting ahead?
How do you take control of your career? A good place to start is to think about how careers develop. For many people, careers feel like they are just happening to them. Perhaps they’re just getting by, doing little to influence which career paths they might take. How can you avoid that, perhaps by putting things in place to help you do more than get by?  Getting on and getting ahead?

Three career paths: getting by, getting on and getting ahead

All too often a career can seem to be something you just end up with, especially after life takes its various twists and turns. Whilst it’s true that luck and circumstance play a part in most people’s careers, there is much that we can all do to make the most of the chances that come our way. After all, as Louis Pasteur once said:

“Chance favours only the prepared mind.”

How can you be better prepared to make the most of the opportunities that arise?  A helpful place to start is to compare three possible career paths. You might develop by:

Getting by – this simply suggests that you don’t really plan or focus on your career but instead simply get by.
Getting on – suggests that you start to realise some of your potential by getting on better with those in your organisation, and by starting to identify what you need to get on in your career.
Getting ahead  – is more than knowing what skills and knowledge you might need, it is about developing the social skills and breadth of connections which offer the opportunities for you to get ahead in your career.

Of course, at different times in your career you may feel that you are only getting by, and just about coping or holding down the job you’re in. This could be due to a number of perfectly understandable reasons:

Other aspects of your life are more important and need your time, so there is less focus on career progression.
It may be that circumstances in your current job mean that progression will be difficult.

Sometimes getting by can be enough. The lucky ones amongst us may find that career paths appear without the call for much focus or planning attention. This may have been more likely in the large organisations of the past, where your career progress was possibly mapped out by the organisation. But that is rarely the case today.  Today more than ever, it’s likely that you will move between different career paths at different times.

At other times you may well feel that getting on is enough, as you begin shaping a career by building your skills, knowledge and crucially, your experience.  You will be gaining confidence in your role; others are seeing you as competent and respecting your view and your work. This is the time to make sure you are prepared for opportunities as they develop – to think about getting ahead.

How can you move from getting by or getting on, to getting ahead?

Having a prepared mind is the first step. Thinking, planning and being prepared to make the most of chance and fortune as it comes your way. Getting ahead often means getting connected. And this is not just about chance, it’s about developing the skills that will enable you to build and use your network.

Personal investment? You’re worth it

Today most professionals will have careers spanning several organisations, possibly including some degree of self-employment. Treat your career as a series of opportunities to add to your portfolio of:


Remember, whatever your situation, you’re always working for yourself. Make the most of any chances to add to this portfolio, increasing your professional value. If these opportunities are scarce, try to create them. Suggest development activities to your manager, naturally ensuring you stress the value to the organisation, as well as to yourself. One way to do this is to always be looking for the opportunities in what you currently do.

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