How You Can Control Your Career

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Do you have career independence? According to inspirational speaker, Earl Nightingale (1921-1989), “The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!”

I have had many moments in my long corporate career where I felt frustrated and angry with my employer for not taking better care of me and my career. I learned the hard way that to love my job and thrive in my career, I must embrace it as my own. The truth is, was, and has always been, my career is my responsibility. How absolutely freeing! I am not at the mercy of a corporate entity or a group of managers and executives! My career is not at the mercy of the current economy and election results. What a relief! And I have good news for you – YOUR career is YOUR VERY OWN.

You get to choose what skills to learn, what strengths to leverage, and for whom to work. And if you change your mind, or want to shift directions, you can make that choice and take the actions that make sense for you. So what will you do with your freedom?

When you have career independence, you are free from the need to worry about the security of your current position. You are confident you can get another job any time you need one. In fact, you always have one eye open toward your other options.

Do you want to take control of your career? Would you like to feel you are the one directing your success and satisfaction? You can, by making sure your career toolbox is up-to-date and active. Here are 5 strategies to implement to develop your own career independence and be prepared for whatever comes your way.

1. Keep your tools current.

As you start your new job, and complete your first project or take on new responsibilities, make it a priority to update your resume and LinkedIn profile. If you maintain a Master Accomplishments List*, which I recommend, make it a priority to update that as well. One of my friends updates her resume every time she takes the car in for an oil change.

By maintaining your tools as you go along, if you suddenly find you need to look for a new job, or if the next perfect opportunity unexpectedly comes your way, you will be ready.

2. Keep your network active.

Stay in touch with your in person and online networks when you are happily employed, not just when you need help finding a job. Offer to help others find their dream job, or next job, or even a good plumber. If you focus on strengthening the relationships with people in your network while you’re employed, you will have more help available to you when you need it.

3. Keep your skills up to date.

Seek training. Ask for projects that allow you to build marketable skills. Stay abreast of the tools used by your peers in the industry. If there are certifications that are valued in your field, pursue those. By keeping your skills current, you make yourself marketable and create more options for employment.

4. Keep abreast of what’s out there.

Make a point of searching the job boards periodically to discover what options are out there. This is also a great way to discover what skills and education are currently required in your field. Besides, you never know when the next great opportunity for you might appear.

5. Keep your eyes open.

This final strategy is about keeping your eyes open to see what’s going on within your current organization. Are the good people leaving? How are the company financials? Are budgets tightening? Are you hearing rumors of layoffs? Keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground so you can be aware of how secure your current organization or position is.

By implementing these 5 strategies, you will boost your confidence and make sure you are in the driver’s seat as you steer your career in the direction you want it go.

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