5 steps to achieve professional growth

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Feb 07

Normal horizon
Creative Commons License photo credit: kokeshi

Employment security means that you evaluate your work to keep yourself employable. Yes, you could lose your job, but you give yourself the best ways to keep your work at the top of the heap when it comes to getting your next position. To evaluate your work, though, means you need to emotionally prepare yourself to attain employment security by evaluating your work. It means you need professional growth to evaluate your work to do better work.

What does it take?

You need to want to grow in your profession

Now this is, perhaps, painfully obvious. But without the underlying need to want to do better work, you’ll never grow. If you think this shouldn’t be mentioned, take a look around at your coworkers. How many of them want to improve their work? How many of them talk about finding better ways to do their work? How often do they take the opportunity to get better at what they do?

Unless you want to improve, you won’t. That won’t get you started on the path to employment security nor help yourself evaluate your work in order to get better.

You need to invest in your work

Investment means time and money. Your career is a body of work. Outside of doing your work day after day, you also need to step back and look at where your work is taking you. You need to take the time out of the day-to-day work to reflect on how to make your work better. You need willingness to spend money on the things that will make your work better. Whether that is a course to get a certification to keep your job skills current or something on how to create SMART goals, investing means spending time and money to support your work.

You need to deal with ambiguity

Yoda’s right: “Always in motion the future.” There are no easy answers where your work will take you. There are no “five steps to ultimate success” in your work. Instead, your work is a series of choices. What to leave in. What to leave out.

Because there are no sure-fire ways to ensure your employment security, you’ll need to deal with ambiguity. That will lead to making some wrong choices because of the ambiguity — wrong to stay in a job or leave a job or change careers or move to a different city for a job or buy the house closer to work or the one in country with the longer commute.

Regardless, the willingness to make choices in the face of ambiguity is a necessary skill to continue your professional growth.

You need to accept being uncomfortable

Comfort is a wonderful feeling. It’s also can be a dangerous one in the workplace. Just as soon as you stop pushing yourself and think you have finally got it made — a good job, stable company, great coworkers — life is apt to throw you a curve ball. Or three.

Not to put you in anxiety mode all the time, but when you start feeling comfortable at work, it’s time to do a serious review of your career to see what you can work on next. When the future is always in motion, you’ll miss it by being comfortable.

You need to check your work against the best of the best

Without understanding what the best in your profession do on the job, you won’t know what you are competing against in the job marketplace. Too often, we check our work against our limited team of coworkers. Or we simply review our work based on our own opinions of our work.

What are the best in your business doing on the job? If you know, you also will know what areas of your work you could improve to help your employability.

Professional growth is needed in today’s job market. Without it, you’ll get left behind and then, when you discover you need another job, you won’t be ready for what the job market needs.

Are you ready to improve your work?

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.