The skills to develop and manage your career are essential so that you are able to showcase your abilities and provide you with choices. Choices about where you work, who you work for and the kind of work you do.
These skills are not an option. They are essential. As important to your working life as hashtags are to Twitter, Robin is to Batman or bacon is to eggs (you get the picture).
You Need To Eat
Career Skills will help you reach your potential, be able to communicate the value that you contribute and make sure that you have the ability to negotiate what you’re paid (and many, many more!).
If you’re going to spend your time working, shouldn’t you earn as much as you can? And eat as well as you want? And afford unlimited Wi-Fi?
You may not need pudding to survive but it’s nice to have the option…
Minutes tick by slowly
There is nothing slower than the minutes counting down to knock-off time if don’t enjoy your work. And there’s plenty of them in your working life (minutes, that is!). In fact, 4,920,960 is a conservative estimate of the number of minutes you will be working during your career. It’s a lot of time to watch the clock if you’re not doing something that you at least like. (Would you like your career if it appeared in your news feed on Facebook?)
The ability to take control of your career will ensure that you will get the knowledge, skills and experience that you need to choose where you work, who you work for and the type of work that you want to do.
As Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” We’d like to add, “or have to waste those precious minutes of your life watching the clock.” Get immersed in something you really enjoy and time can just seem to disappear. And you’ll feel like you have spent it doing something you enjoy or interests you!
(For the number crunchers out there that’s 8 hours a day, 233 days of the year for 44 years…it’s actually 295,257,600 seconds, but we didn’t want to freak you out…)
The person most interested in your career is…you!
That’s right. The person who looks back at you in the mirror every morning is the one who has the most to win or lose out of your career decisions. They’re the one who is in the position to make the biggest difference to your career.
They’re also the only person who is going to be with you your entire career. And has the most interest in what you do, how you do it and if you enjoy it.
Other people may be supportive and provide you with coaching, guidance and training. They may provide you with unbelievable opportunities, great advice or fabulous sponsorship. But you are going to be with you your whole life…and ultimately your career. The choices you make are up to you.
(Go on, be nice to that joker in the mirror and have some fun whilst you get ahead!)
The Robots are Coming!
You might not want to take a yoga class led by a robot (squeak, squeak) but there doesn’t seem to be any doubt that robots and other technological advances will change the job market. And the type of jobs available.
We’re already seeing declines in the number of people in jobs such as telephone operator, retail cashier and travel agent. The typing pool, filing clerks and elevator operators are already roles assigned to history. Other jobs that are forecast to decline rapidly include sales roles, mortgage advisers and even social media managers.
There’s a good chance that you will need to change profession, company or role sometime in your career. Your next job or role might not even exist at the moment.
Remember it’s only in the last 10 years that the iPhone, Facebook and Twitter have been part of our lives. Who knows what the next ten years will bring? Ensuring that you have the right skills (as opposed to the right job title) is what will enable you to adapt and navigate your career path through change. (And make friends with the robots…they look like they have cool cars!)
Being good at what you do is not enough
You do need to be good at your job. In fact, you need to be the very best at your job as you can. But that is unlikely to be enough in the madcap world of business targets, customer demands and busy schedules.
Nor is being dedicated, working long hours or leaping over small buildings in a single bound!
You need the skills to communicate who you are, what you do and the contributions that you are making. You need to be able to sell your ideas for others to understand your contribution and appreciate the value that you bring to your role.
You need the skills to establish an operating style that helps you be effective in your work and builds you a positive reputation. How you work with others and how you are known to work are great drivers of whether other people want to have you on their teams, or work with or for you. (Would your team turn their chair to pick you for their team?)
And you need the skills to proactively manage your career to make the best choices and negotiate the best outcomes for you. Skills for networking, working with mentors, negotiating your salary and knowing when it’s time to move on (to name just a few).
These skills might not actually turn you into a superhero but they will give you the power to take control of your career and give you choices!