Start Managing Your Career?

Are you managing your career or just drifting from job to job in a search for more money? Could 2018 be the year that you start to manage your career.

Well another year has ended, and another has instantly started. Somehow it seems like quite an artificial event. A clock ticks out of one year and tocks into another, which seems to be the cause of much merriment.

It all happens in one second, but a second that is uniquely different to any of the other 31,500,000 seconds in a year.

The reason is that the start of a new year for many people is an opportunity to change, to start over with a new or different way of life. For many people that involves a change of job.

Unfortunately, according to YouGov the majority of people will not fulfill the resolutions that they make.

For many people this change of jobs happens really quickly, for others it takes a lot of hard work. The difference is often the mindset with which they start their job-hunting.

Many people, although they are unhappy in their job do not know why they are unhappy. Their change of job doesn’t address the cause of their unhappiness it merely means that they are still unhappy, but have a bigger salary, a grander job title or a different commute.

This is because many people do not take a positive approach to managing their career. The focus is on earning enough to pay the bills, rather than spending their working time doing something that they enjoy with people they like and respect.

This is not the case for people in some careers. Professional sports for example. At the height of the transfer window professional footballer will be looking at the impact a move will have on their career not just the amount of money that a transfer will give them. It’s about who the manager is? Who they will be playing with? What opportunities that playing at that club may provide in the future?

Stage and film performers manage their careers in a similar way. Film and TV stars have managers who actively look for opportunities that will raise the profile of their client in the right way. Which theatre is the play being performed in? Will this add to their credibility? How can they use their credibility and public profile to maximise their earning potential?

Professional sports people like David Beckham are a good example of people who need to think about planning their careers. Professional careers in sport rarely last a lifetime, so they have to think about how they will earn a living when their playing days are over. Nowadays David Beckham is as famous for his advertising, and product development and promotion activities as he ever was for playing football. It’s all down to good career management. So why don’t people with more ordinary jobs think about how their skills and reputation built in one career might be transferable to another career? Perhaps it is because we expect that our career and jobs will go on for ever and that unlike the professional sports person we are unlikely to be forced to change careers midway through our working life.

Many people do not think about how long they should spend in a specific role or with an individual employer. Performers live by the mantra that they should always leave when their audience wants more. Both employers and employees think in terms of the longevity of employment, rather than recognising that an employment relationship, like any other has a life span.

If you are thinking of starting a new chapter of your career in 2018, you would be wise to identify what it is that you want to change before jumping ship. Decide where it is that you want to be at the end of your career, the lifestyle that you would like to be enjoying and then work out a plan that will enable you to fulfil that objective.

This is a very individual decision. It is not something that you need to do by comparing yourself to other people. I recently met a doctor who had embarked on a medical career simply because one of his school friends wanted to be a doctor. He saw his friend put on a pedestal by friends, family and teachers because of his career decision. He decided that he was cleverer that his friend and could also be a doctor. Many years later his recognises that he has spent his life doing a job to impress other people instead of spending his life doing something that he enjoys.

Never confuse having a career with having a life

The Fifty Lessons guide to managing your career uses examples of how some successful executives managed their career to explain how you can do the same.