“It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”
These words are extracted from the poem “Invictus”, written in 1875 by William Ernest Henley. It says that, regardless of the struggles and challenges that we face, we should be in the driver’s seat of our lives and determine our own fate. How often, as an adult, have you allowed someone else to make decisions that affect your life? How often have any of these decisions worked in your favour? While it might seem easier to allow someone else to make decisions on your behalf, it’s really a disservice to you and stunts your growth. This principle applies to career-based decisions too.
Own your development
A prevailing belief is that an organisation or manager is responsible for ensuring that their people (a) have a career path, and (b) get the growth that they need to advance along that path. The truth is that we are individually responsible for our own career paths. Organisations may provide some tools, resources and guidance, but ultimately we own our careers.
No one else will be more invested in your development than you. People around you may provide general support, but they need to focus on their own development and priorities too. Leaders and managers are often distracted by business plans and strategic business objectives that they need to achieve to ensure organisational progress. Waiting on your manager to conduct a career discussion with you, before you take action, inevitably delays your career progress and can leave you feeling uncertain about your future. As a reasonable business decision, organisations limit their learning and development investment to careers that align with their core business activities. You need to consider this and look at other opportunities to fund and support your career path if it’s in a field unrelated to your organisation’s core business.
Job vs. Career
It’s important to understand that having a job is different from having a career. While we often find ourselves deeply attached to our jobs, they might not complement who we are, or align with our long-term view. A job is often a means to an end, a way to pay our bills, or a stepping stone to gain exposure and experience. Having a job is necessary to earn a living while pursuing other goals. A career, on the other hand, has a long-term focus. It’s a series of connected employment opportunities. It’s a planned and actively managed path that provides learning and networking opportunities that can boost your growth and future.
Your career path is yours to own. It’s up to you to take the necessary steps to create a path that you want and achieve your goals. Owning your career may take some work, but it’s a great opportunity to build a path that’s uniquely designed around your own strengths, needs, skills, and interests.
What steps are you taking to own your career path?
People need support when making decisions about their careers. Download our free Career Satisfaction Quiz to understand your career situation. Click here or email us to discover how our Career Coaching service can help you.