Adding wings to caterpillars does not create butterflies, it creates awkward and dysfunctional caterpillars. Butterflies are created through transformation.
~ Stephanie Marshall
Career development is never ending. Don’t confuse Career Development with keeping up with trends, technology, research, and industry standards. Everyone must do this! It never is small doses of random “professional development”. Taking a workshop here, and a course there. Things that interest you don’t amount to career development. Career Development is the focused and intentional upgrading of you. It starts with great self-awareness–what do I need to be more “successful”? What will make me more promotable? The jobs I aspire to have–what are the requirements I must fulfill? It is rarely one thing–You have to obtain a deeper understanding of the gaps you want to fill based on role models. Running a department, a non-profit, a global corporation is complex. Without a deeper understanding, you will under-estimate what it takes to be qualified and ultimately effective. It has to be accompanied by brutal honesty, ideally some good mentoring feedback. General ambitiousness is irritating. “I want more”–responsibility, bigger team, budget. More is a hollow motivator, it never ends and can be extremely frustrating. You can invest an enormous amount of time and money to develop your career path. So laying out your career and life goals will give your career development meaning and purpose.
What is driving your ambition?
Where are you headed? What do you want?
What of your habits and characteristics are holding you back?
How do you take advantage of your current situation to optimize your plans? Aligning your professional development with your goals.
Books & Stories
Don't tell me I need an MBA!
After a workshop I was doing in Toronto for a bunch of IBMers, a young manager of IT came up to see me. He was anxious and got right to the point. “Hey, I want to a marketing executive bit my boss just sees me as an IT guy. And don’t be another one who says I should get an MBA!” “Oh, I said quickly, I think an MBA could help you with the shift but, okay here’s what you should do.” I told him to think of his favorite charity, the one he really believes in but has had little chance to support their efforts. He nodded. “Want you to walk into their offices and tell them you work for IBM and love their work and want to be on their marketing committee. Nobody does this.” He looked at me quizzically. I bolted ahead. “You attend three committee meetings sharing your ideas and enthusiasm and you will be appointed Vice Chair of the committee! Now you are Vice Chair of your favorite charity’s marketing committee and you have developed a little portfolio of what you have learned and what you have achieved. Next year, you list this in your review, and your boss says, “When did you become Vice Chair of this marketing committee?!” And you say, “I have been trying to tell you I am a MARKETING guy!!!” He was mesmerized. He said, “Could that work?”
4 years later I got an email from this IBMer. He seemed angry. “You probably don’t remember me–Toronto, favorite charity, marketing committee….., You lied, deceived, and misled me!!! I was appointed to the committee and attended two meetings and was appointed Chair!” His email signature read “Director of Marketing IBM.”
Converting your goals and intentions into action by combining them with things with purpose and passion makes a difference. Not sure why so few people do this–gain invaluable work experience through their volunteering. Not only do you bet to bolster your resume but you have references!
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