“Failing to plan is planning to fail “is a quote attributed to both Winston Churchill and Benjamin Franklin.
The other quote I like is “Life is what happens to you while you are busy doing other things “a line used by John Lennon in “Beautiful Boy“
So while nobody believes you can absolutely control your career, at least if you put some thought into it and take responsibility for management of your life and your career you should be able to optimise matters and steer towards where you want to be, taking into account new market conditions.
Career management attempts to optimise compatibility between you and your work environment.
The process of Career Appraisal will begin with Career Exploration, which is the collection and analysis of information about yourself and your work environment. You will consider your personal values, interests, skills and abilities as well as opportunities and obstacles .This allows you to set realistic Career Goals that will meet your personal needs and develop a Strategy to achieve these goals.
Career Appraisal and Career Exploration should be an ongoing process, perhaps annual, with career related feedback used in the process, and adaptation of the goals and strategies in line with changing circumstances.
The stages of appraisal and exploration might be;-
- Prioritise objectives. What are you looking for from a career? Consider your personal values, interests, skills and abilities as well as opportunities and obstacles. If you can, discuss with a colleague, friend or professional advisor.
- Gather Information. How much do you know about your options, what information have you gathered? Use colleagues, friends, professional advisors, internet research.
- Be Realistic. Are you prepared to put in the effort required, do you have the skills and ability, are there costs involved, can you afford them, can you get financial assistance?
- Define the options available. Research them further, and pursue several options to allow flexibility.
- Develop strategy and tactics to put your plans into action.
This process may be undertaken as you near the end of a course of study and are considering the best career path, and positions which would be suitable for you to apply for.
If you are employed, this appraisal may take place as part of an annual performance review, with feedback from your line manager, who may help you identify knowledge gaps and develop an action plan. It is important for them to be aware of your career goals, as they are clearly in a position to influence your career.
If you are in danger of redundancy this may be a suitable time to carry out a career appraisal and redefine your goals.
Or perhaps a family related event will force you to reappraise your commitment to your career.If you are self-employed or unemployed it is likely that you will undergo a similar process regularly, as you evaluate your skills and abilities against those in demand in the market place. You may identify learning and development gaps, and may undertake formal or informal training to close those gaps and ensure skills are relevant and up to date.
In each case you will determine goals and strategy which may have evolved since the last time you performed the exercise, but will be relevant to current circumstances.