Career development is clearly becoming an employee responsibility. Companies want employees to own their professional development. Employees are embracing the idea as a way to control their career.
It’s raises the notion that, as individuals, we need to regularly monitor our status and make sure we’re focused on our career development goals. Here are three questions you can ask yourself:
1) What am I consuming? By consuming, I mean reading, listening, and watching. We have to find good resources to challenge our thinking and help us grow. Every once in a while, we need to change what we consume – find new resources and not be afraid to take a break from the ones that we’ve outgrown. By no means does this imply you can’t read a trashy novel by the pool or binge watch the last season of Sherlock. (I’m totally guilty of these.) However, I’m also always on the lookout for a blog or book that will make me think.
2) Who do I spend time with? We all like hanging out with our friends. That’s why they’re our friends. But do you ever find yourself hanging out with someone you don’t particularly care for? If that’s the case, ask yourself why. And is there a way to change the situation. It’s one thing to spend time with a person who challenges you to the point of being mentally exhausted after an hour. That might be a good kind of tired. But it’s another thing altogether to spend time with people who wear you out with snark or constantly challenge your sensibilities just to get your attention.
3) Where are my role models? One way to learn a new behavior is by watching or connecting with others. When you think of the things you’re trying to learn, who are those people that perform the skill well? Once you identify those individuals, figure out how you can connect with them. In some cases, you might be able to meet that person and build a relationship with them. In others, you might need to follow them on social media or read their work.
You can ask yourself these three questions on an annual, semi-annual or quarterly basis to stay in touch with your career goals and make adjustments as you see fit. The questions really focus on how we spend our time, making sure we’re spending it the right ways.
It’s very easy to fill our plate with career development activities that don’t help us achieve our goals. Because everyone else is doing it. A regular reminder to align our activities with our goals is always a good thing.
Image courtesy of HR Bartender