Most employees take a passive role in their careers. They put their heads down, work hard, and hope that their accomplishments will lead to success. Sometimes they get lucky, and management takes notice of their work. Promotions, raises, and expanded responsibilities land in their lap. Other times they get unlucky and are stuck with poor management, lousy company performance, and a perpetual feeling of “being stuck.”
In both cases, something other than an employee’s actions, luck, is in charge of the outcome. The key to career growth and success is ownership. Employees must be their own greatest advocates. They must be willing to grab opportunities as they arise and move on from jobs stifling their growth. But how can one take ownership of one’s career? Here are three strategies that’ll help.
Learn, Learn, Learn
In 2020, the world has never moved faster. The only constant is change, and to find career success, employees must prioritize learning. Gone are the days of employees being able to make a living utilizing the same skills for multiple decades. A modern employee who doesn’t learn risks waking up to find out that their job has been made obsolete by rapidly advancing technology.
Read books, take classes, volunteer for projects outside of your wheelhouse in the office. Never stop learning.
Network, Network, Network
Networking has taken on a negative connotation in the modern workspace, often conjuring images of highly transactional relationships. The reality is networking is merely making an effort to meet and interact with other professionals in a given industry. Attend conferences, sign up for virtual webinars, and freely give thoughts and advice based on your lived experience.
Networking is useful beyond landing a job. Meeting professionals outside of their organization can help employees develop smart solutions to problems, identify potentially useful vendors, and find new people to recruit to a team.
Don’t Hesitate to Cut an Employer Loose
We all know the feeling. Stuck in a dead-end job that doesn’t promote growth—doing the same thing day in and day out. Promises of raises and expanded opportunities are given year after year and yet are never delivered.
Sometimes the fit simply isn’t there between an employee and a position. An employee can outgrow a position, or the strategic business goals of an organization may change. A lack of fit can be frustrating for both employee and employer, but the biggest mistake often occurs when an employee decides to “stick it out.”
If there isn’t a fit, move on. Don’t waste years of a career hoping for things to improve; shape your own career destiny!