Do you know the myths about career management?
There are many myths about how to manage your career, and in this article I’ll cover seven of the biggest myths about career management.
There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to career progression. There are different ways to approach your career development and advancement – some may surprise you!
A client of mine recently landed what she considers to be her dream job after several years of feeling very unhappy and unappreciated in her previous company.
She had a strong feeling that she was in the wrong company, doing the wrong type of work long before we started working together. And she wasn’t clear about what she really wanted, nor what to do next.
To gain the career clarity she needed, she joined my Career Success Program and was an active participant in our group coaching calls each month, completed many of my online career management courses and the career assessments included in the program.
During our group calls she shared that she was confused and feeling quite deflated because of the lack of recognition and little job satisfaction she felt at her current role.
She wasn’t able to get to the next step up.
I explained to her that too many people think of career advancement as upward progression only, and sometimes you can leapfrog a position, move laterally or even make a downward move in order to get to where you want to be eventually instead of moving step-by-step up a career ladder.
In fact, if you think too narrowly about what it means to advance your career, you may overlook the fact that your career advancement is often more a matrix than a ladder.
The 7 Myths About Career Management
Here are seven myths about career management and development preventing you from getting ahead:
To get ahead in my career I must MOVE UP into a management position
If you have no direct reports right now, then managing a team or gaining direct reports may sound like a great step up. However, managing others is not the only way to measure career progression.
Staying where you are and expanding on your skill set, and creating the opportunity to work with different people or new projects, can help you to advance and also expand a valuable internal network.
Career advancement may come as a lateral move first rather than an immediate upward move into management.
You must consider your long-term career goals – will the next move take you closer to your goals? And have you identified SPECIFICALLY what your goals are?
My MANAGER is the one to help me progress in my career
Never assume your manager will look out for your career development. It’s up to you to get clear on your career goals and to understand the goals of your company, to position yourself for success.
Your manager may not know what is best for YOU. You manager may be new to the company and parachuted into their senior role. What if your manager is not regarded highly enough to help you? What if your manager does not have the influence to help you?
You manager may be too focused on their own career to really understand what you want. They may feel you are too valuable in your current role and not want to lose you even if you want to move up or move on.
No one cares more about your career than YOU. If you are lucky enough to have a manager who has your back and takes the time and effort to grow your career in your current company, you are very fortunate.
However, YOU are the one who must take ownership of your career, develop self-reliance and resilience despite setbacks and set your own plan for success.
My manager WON’T HELP ME in my career
On the other side of the coin, you must not assume your manager won’t help you without exploring the possibility of support first.
There are some managers who are excellent leaders and are pro-active about developing their team members and lobbying for their advancement within the company.
Your manager is one step closer to the senior executive team than you, and can advise of the best way to approach your career development in your current organisational culture.
Take full advantage of a supportive manager who may be able to introduce you to senior executives and expand your professional network.
I have to STAY IN MY CURRENT COMPANY if I want to progress my career
It seems natural to stay in your current company and take on ever increasing responsibilities and progress internally, however, what if your company can’t give you what you want?
For example, if you want international experience and you work within a company that is national, regardless of how happy you are in your current role, and how far you progress, you will still need to target global companies for international opportunities
Take the time to assess what you really aspire to and ask yourself if your current company is the right place to advance towards your long-term career goals?
If I want to advance in my career, I have to LEAVE MY CURRENT COMPANY
Do you really need to leave to get what you want? Staying in your current company could provide some important advantages. It takes time to make your mark in any role. Usually professionals need 2-4 years to get completely up to speed with their role and gain the tangible accomplishments to prove their capabilities.
Developing a solid track record of success can help you with lateral and upward moves – your current company may be more willing to explore how you will thrive in new areas as they already know your work ethic, capabilities and fit.
Also, by remaining where you are for a sufficient amount of time gives you more opportunities to get to know those with influence, what initiatives really matter, and how key decisions (like promotions and stretch roles) are made.
Ask yourself if you are considering leaving your current company to just to avoid figuring out how to advance where you are?
I just need to find the right MENTOR to develop my career
Yes, a mentor can give you valuable advice, which can help you to progress faster in your career. However, you still need to do the work. Be aware that there is a limit to how much a mentor can lobby for you, influence others on your behalf or know all the details relevant to your career path.
If you rely on a mentor to get ahead, you place a great deal of pressure on one person to do it for you.
A better approach will be to curate a personal board of supporters with a range of expertise. Supporters who may your sponsors rather than mentors so you can focus on actions to be taken to progress forwards in your desired career path.
I need to LOOK AND BEHAVE DIFFERENTLY to get ahead in my career
Your professional image and executive presence matter and vary by industry, role and company culture. If you believe that to progress in your career you can’t be your natural self, then you give yourself an excuse not to put yourself out there. Don’t assume you need to change for the worse in order to advance. However, don’t focus on simply being yourself, focus on being your BEST SELF. You do not have to change who you are to get ahead – there’s no need to create imaginary obstacles to your progress.
Consider this: If you were to change who you are to get ahead, would it be worth it?
Career management is not rocket science and there no hard and fast rules or processes that will work for every individual. Explore different ways to progress in your career and don’t let these career management myths to hold you back from what you want.