Although career development has been an important topic in management related courses for the past three decades, some drastic changes have occurred in recent years. Thirty years ago, career development programs were designed to assist employees in advancing their work lives and to provide the information and assessment needed to help realize career goals. Career development was a way for an organization to attract and retain highly talented personnel. Those concerns are all but disappearing in today’s organizations. Downsizing restructuring work process engineering and the like have reshaped the organization’s role in career development. Today the individual not the organization is responsible for an employee’s career. Unfortunately millions of employees have learned this reality the hard way over the past few years. This module has been created to better prepare you to take responsibility for managing your career.
Career: A sequence of work positions that a person has held over his or her life.
The best career is whatever offers the best match between what you want out of life and what you need. Good career choices should result in a series of positions that gives you an opportunity to be a good performer make you want to maintain your commitment to your career lead to highly satisfying work and give you the proper balance between work and personal life. A good career match, then, is one in which you are able to develop positive self concept to do work that you think is important and to lead the kind of life you desire. Creating that balance is referred to a career planning.
Career planning is designed to assist you in becoming more knowledgeable about your needs, values, and personal goals. This knowledge can be achieved through a three step, self assessment process:
Identify and organize your skills, interests, work related needs, and values: The best place to begin is by drawing up a profile of your educational record. List each school attended from high school on. What courses do you remember linking most and least? In what courses did you score highest and lowest? In what extracurricular activities did you participate? Are there any specific skills that you acquired? Are there other skills in which you have gained proficiency? Next, begin to assess your occupational experience. List each job you have held, the organization you worked for, your overall level of satisfaction what you liked most an least about the job and why you left. It’s important to be honest in covering of these points.
Convert this information into general career fields and specific job goals. Step 1 should have provided some insights into your interests and abilities. Now you need to look at how they can be converted in to the kind of organizational setting or field of endeavor with which you will be good match. Then you can become specific and identify distinct job goals. What fields are available? In business? In government? In nonprofit organization? Your answer can be broken down further into areas such as education, financial manufacturing, social services, or health services. Identifying areas of interest is usually far easier than pinpointing specific occupations. When you are able to identify a limited set of occupation that interests you, you can start to align them with your abilities and skills. Will certain jobs require you to move? If so, would the location be compatible with your geographic preferences? Do you have the educational requirements necessary for the job? If not, what additional schooling will be needed? Dies the job offer the status and earning potential to which you aspire? What is the long term outlook for jobs in this field? Does the field suffer from cyclical employment? Because no job is without its drawbacks, have you seriously considered all the negative aspects? When you have fully answered questions such as these, you should have a relatively short list of specific job goals.
Test your career possibilities against the realities of the organization or the job market by talking with knowledgeable people in the fields, organizations, or jobs you desire. These informational interviews should provide reliable feedback as to the accuracy of your self assessment and the opportunities available in the fields and jobs that interest you.