Take Control of your Career

Being proactive in your work environment can rapidly advance your career. This is not only rewarding in the short-term; it will also benefit your future progression, helping you to ‘stand out from the crowd’ when it comes to making your next job move.

So, what steps can be taken to adopt a more proactive approach rather than a reactive one?

Reactive behaviour is waiting for opportunities to come to you; proactive behaviour is creating and seizing opportunities. By actively seeking new and challenging prospects, you can begin to build upon your own portfolio of skills whilst helping advance the team/company you are in. The benefits of your proactive behaviour are boundless.

By taking time to consider what challenges your business may be facing you can begin to focus on areas that are essential for the continued growth and expansion of the company. For example, volunteering to help out in other areas of the business may inject further support and fresh thinking. This in turn, gives you a chance to step outside of what might be a niche role and develop skills that may take your career in a different direction.

During the interview phases you will have expressed countless attributes and talents you could bring to the company. However, your positivity may have lessened since then; this could be as a result of a lack of opportunity presented to you or by complacency and disengagement from the role. By being a proactive employee you could find ways of showcasing these talents. It might be anything from presentation skills to IT. Your hidden talents may help win new business, save your company money or make you indispensible.

Have confidence in your ideas and opinions. You may have suggestions on how your company could improve its functionality. For example, if you think your colleagues are wasting time at meetings, suggest setting guidelines about their length or stick to a carefully prepared schedule. This suggestion could allow for more productivity and highlight your commitment and professionalism to the role.

Take charge of your reviews and take your appraisals seriously and constructively. If you feel your efforts are going unnoticed, you could request an additional review of your work. Preparing for an appraisal in advance can also give you a chance to self-evaluate and initiate proceedings with relevant questions and ideas for improvement.

Whether it is money, security or a better work-life balance, try not to forget your key motivators and drivers. It is these that will help ensure your continued career success. Losing sight of your initial reasons for a progressive, challenging career, can result in you becoming disheartened and disengaged by the day-to-day realities of the job. By keeping your future ambitions and goals at the forefront of your mind, job satisfaction and success can be more readily achieved.

Therefore, by changing behaviour and adopting a more positive attitude you can begin to take charge of your career and which direction it goes. Here are a few things to remember if you feel that your career may be stalling:

  • Create advocates by identifying how you can assist other colleagues and departments
  • Treat your appraisal seriously; be prepared with a list of your achievements and ask poignant questions about future aims and KPI measurements
  • Challenge your boss (politely!) by asking what he or she wants your team to focus on and where you fit into this plan
  • Gain your family’s support by letting them know what you need to do in order to deliver at work
  • Make yourself visible to your boss’ boss and try to network with more senior level employees