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Managing Your Career

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DQW Bureau
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Technology today is evolving at such a rapid pace that if you wait for a new standard to establish itself before acquainting yourself with it, you may just miss the bus. You have to keep abreast with change and ride the wave of this convergence of technologies. In this constant flux, organizations will change and also demand the same from their employees. Employees need to be more flexible and look for different ways of growth within or outside the organization.

Organizations will be flatter and less bureaucratic. Knowledge will be valued more than longevity and global competitive pressure will break down the lifelong employment contract of yesterday. You must take control of your career because no one else is going to do it for you. This of course involves broadening and deepening your own knowledge base-both of yourself and your environment. For managers, this New World of Work demands a commitment to change, and a focus on managing their careers with new attitudes, skills and responsibilities.

Guidelines for managing your career

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Identify the "self "

Simple as it may sound, the toughest and often most confusing part is knowing what really drives you and where your true competence lies. There are many who, in the middle of their career, would have lost vision of why they joined a particular company, chose a particular profession or are working the way they are. It is necessary to go through an intensive self-assessment exercise, as in a world of constant flux all things change-the company's demands on us, as well as our demands and needs from companies. We often need to either re-align or shift out.

A self-assessment exercise helps you discover and identify your strengths, weaknesses, behavioral & technical skills and what serves to drive / motivate you. Often this exercise helps you identify the internal barriers that stand between you and your dream job.

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There are different sources that you can tap for self-discovery. The formal sources include Psychometric tests that are conducted by certified professionals and of course your own performance appraisal. Informal sources would be getting feedback and responses from people you work with, such as colleagues, subordinates, superiors and customers. This source of information should not be undermined since others notice what we often overlook. Another very valuable source is your own mind. Spend some time in introspection. You need time to reflect on your past successes and failures and analyze the reason for the outcome.

Articulate your career vision and goals

A career vision is essential since it will help clarify the direction you are taking. It will help motivate you into taking action, not necessarily to your short-term interests, and also in coordinating action. This vision statement is essentially how you would see yourself sometime in the future, how you see yourself as of now and the gap in between.

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Get a grip

"The illiterate of the future won't be a person who doesn't know how to read, it will be a person who doesn't know how to learn."

In a changing converging world you need to focus on building your skills constantly to ensure that you are not obsolete and also to ensure that you have the skills that are required to fulfil your career vision and goals.

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Research

It is imperative to scan your career environment. Often, what is termed as a lack of choice is actually ignorance of existing opportunities. This career environment spans your department, company & industry, as well as the national and the global economy. Of course it goes without mentioning that career research does not mean just external research. There exist a lot of opportunities for expansion within companies as well. Reading and networking with people are easy, and yet very effective, ways to stay informed.

Realign

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Once you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, know what direction you want your career to take, have built the required skills and are aware of the various opportunities available, you can decide on whether or not to choose a particular career.

It is now time to take charge of your life, accept responsibly and guide your career in the direction you want it to take. Whether it be by realigning your career within the existing company, shifting into a new company or starting out on your own, you have to take charge of yourself and your future.

Madhavi Misra (The author is People Value Management Consultant, Hewitt Associates)

Source: www.ciol.com

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