How To Get Your Career Off The Ground

How can we get our careers off the ground and going in the direction we want?

My son Ian left Dublin on Saturday morning for Orlando on his first ever business trip! He has two weeks of learning and adventure ahead. I am super excited for him.

With a few tears in my eyes steaming up my sunglasses, I said goodbye and gave him a big hug.

 Man with two suitcases at the airport

His trip prompted me to write about something many of us face in our lives. How to get our careers off the ground and going in the direction we want?

At present, you might be feeling a bit "meh" in your role. You might be feeling somewhat undervalued. You know you are capable of so much more but are stuck with what to do next or what direction to take.

That is okay! You are not alone in this regard.

A quick question for you staying in line with the theme of travel before I dive in.

When you are planning your holidays, what is the first thing you think about?

Destination, right?

Where do you want to go and why?

Who will you be when you get there?

What will it look and feel like?

Many people including myself in the past do not allow themselves to take off in their careers. The reason I see show up most is because they do not know who they want to be.

People ask you over and over since you were a kid, what do you want to be when you grow up? We should make a point of not asking kids this anymore. It is one of the worst questions you could ever ask a young person today.

Because the future of work is changing daily. Our attitudes towards our careers need to keep evolving.

What we should be asking is whom do you want to be when you grow up?

Or as most of us are grown-ups here now we should be asking ourselves on a regular basis:

Who am I?

The answer to this question will take its shape on the foundation of our values and beliefs.

Then the direction in which we choose to go will also lie in acknowledging that careers are non-linear. Non-linear career paths are now the norm.

You know that dream job, that one job for life, is actually kind of done, it’s over. Your career can go in any direction you choose if you are prepared to do the work and research needed to get it to take off.

Today it is quite possible you are not going to have one career, one dream job and one profession. We need to consider our thought process around who we are and how our work needs to evolve to compliment this.

Instead of looking at career paths or job titles it makes more sense to look "underneath" these derailers.

Consider what binds us and our careers together? 9 times out of 10 it will be our values and who we are.

Soon many jobs will face disruption or transition in some way. A former role could unlock many others career paths. Ones to world of opportunity and new direction.

Research has shown that when a person trains or works in one job they gain skills for 13 other jobs.

Many young and older generations are stuck training for and working in jobs that may not exist in the future. It is not a reason to be fearful or disheartened. We should look at it as an opportunity to learn more about who you are and what you can bring to the future of work.

The good news is we have moved on from this mindset and ladder of succession:

"Go to school, go to college, get a good job, work hard and if you’re ‘living the dream’, retire when you’re 65.”

You don't have to climb that ladder anymore. The world is our gym and playground to discover more. We are more inspired and open to change than ever, and more interested in what’s happening around us.

We all have the head and hearts to negotiate the direction our careers can go in and overcome any challenges that may show up in the process. Once we stay grounded in our values and who we when we start to take off.

How can you transfer your skill set and reach another career destination?

What direction do you want to go in?

What is the fist step that will allow you to get off the ground?

The sky’s the limit.

To finish consider this for reflection.

Perhaps the real question to ask ourselves when we wake up in the morning and as this new month begins is:

"What is the world that I want to create by being who I am?”

Register for the next career pivot cafe on the 11th October in Dublin at Bestseller cafe. Spaces limited at pauline@paulineharley.com

October complimentary call slots available here.