Your current job is career management

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Oct 29

“How did I not see this coming?”

“I should have paid attention when our manager talked about budget cuts.”

“I’m not worried. I’ll be able to find a job when I need one, right?”

Your job, as a knowledge worker, is your wealth creator. You put a roof over your head, decide on vacation locations, head out for a night on the town and drive your car from the income you derive from your job. One would think, then, that focusing your efforts on how your performance is viewed would be important as delivering the work. Too often, it isn’t.

We think that because we are currently working in a job it doesn’t affect our career. Since we are in a job we don’t connect job performance and skills affecting our opportunities, the foundation for our career. We don’t think the opinion of our work performance means much for the next position.

After all, career management is something you do when you decide to look for a new position. Or your company makes that decision for you.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Your current job and your performance provide the springboard for your next position. That next position will either advance your career or it won’t.

Even when working in our job, we think that focusing on developing our job skills is the foundation for being ready for the next position. Then, every week, we deliver a status report that destroys our personal branding to our manager. We think goals for our performance review don’t mean much because everyone in the department got the same goals anyway. Halfway through our performance review period, we start working on projects that have nothing to do with our goals, but think we’ll be OK because our manager asked to work on this project. We are supposed to write our own self-review when performance review time comes up and we write in a few sentences – or a novel – and don’t worry about it much since our manager will review us and put in what the manager wants.

We punt our opportunity to influence the views of our job performance all of the time and then wonder “how did I not see this coming?”

Cubicle Warriors practice showing their best job performance all the time. They put in the effort to not only do the work, but ensure they influence the outcome of their performance ratings to best match their work performance. They understand that all parts of their job is “career management,” not just their job skills. They differentiate themselves from others work through their approach to delivering the work and showing how the work was important.

How do they do it?

  • […] hiring managers are looking for people to help them achieve their objectives. Your accomplishments and attitude speak volumes to a hiring manager. A bunker mentality can be spotted a mile away and you […]

  • Scot says:

    @Barbara Safani – This is key, Barbara. Companies won’t be looking out for your accomplishments nor your performance. You need to do this on your own. Having your accomplishments documented on reviews is a great way to encourage discussion about your performance — and improving your rating.

  • Scot,

    Great advice. As a resume writer and career coach, I usually meet people after they have made all these mistakes and when they no longer have a job. When I coach clients on how to negotiate their next compensation package, I remind them that they can influence future reviews and merit increases in a new job by tracking their accomplishments throughout the year. Once people realize how empowering that can be, they generally do a better job advocating for themselves on future reviews.

  • Rick says:

    Hard to disagree with you here, Scot. Many of us still operate with a “crisis management” mentality in that we wait for something to happen that spurs us to action. But the business world is very different today. Your employer doesn’t look out for your career, which means YOU have to! And that requires an occasional inventory of your skills and accomplishments and where you believe you might want to take them should you find the need to look for a new job.

    Also, know the market for your skills – even if you’re content with your current job.

    • Scot says:

      @Rick – I’d even extend the “know the market for your skills” piece by adding “know your transferable skills.” When you can transfer skills from one industry to another, you significantly increase your ability to stay employed and grow your career.

      Thanks for the comment.

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