Nudging Your Career Forward (Part 1)
Did you know that according to Glassdoor January is the month people look to change jobs or careers? To support that view, a report from the London School of Business and Finance, reveals that almost half of all workers in the UK want to reboot a stagnant career. So after the year we have all had, is it time to take stock and try nudging your career forward in 2023?
The bald statistics
The LSBF (London School of Business and Finance) Careers Report found that as well as the 47 per cent of workers who would like to change careers; 21 per cent of workers are looking to move careers in the next 12 months. Workers are aiming for increased salary prospects, better work-life balance, and improved job satisfaction. These were the main reasons for wanting to move. So it’s fair to say a career reboot is something in many people’s minds as they enter 2023. Even with the seismic change in our work in the recent past.
Indeed, nigh on a quarter of British people (23%) in employment revealed that they regret their current job or career choice. There are higher figures for younger workers – 30% of 25-34 year-olds regret their current career. So regardless of the numbers, we tend to start thinking about what we do at the start of a new year. We may focus on what’s going wrong at work if we can work closer to home or have more flexibility. Perhaps better prospects of promotion and salaries of course. Do we want more meaning and purpose or perhaps be in a position to make an impact in our work? All these questions start to gnaw away at the back of our minds creating a sense of unease about what we do and why.
Stick or Twist?
However, many people are unwilling to move jobs owing to several factors they feel hold them back. The biggest factor is the lack of financial security (29%). Not knowing what to switch to and fear of failure were also two major obstacles to changing and rebooting your career. For more information, the London School of Business and Finance can be found here
So the facts and figures speak for themselves and clearly, not everyone is a happy bunny in their jobs, especially as we enter a new year. The question is how do you break the inertia and get January 2023 off with a bang? How do you set a career strategy in motion that will give you the best chance possible to move your job and career forward?
Nudging Your Career Forward (Part 2)
Finding a Career Coach
Career coaching can mean different things to different people. However, the way we manage our working lives can affect us all in many ways. Mainly our sense of fulfilment and satisfaction at work and in our careers. The thing is if you are in a position to think about support to move your working life forward, how on earth do folk know the quality of the coach? Hopefully, this part of the post will help you with your career choices, and help to start to nudge your career in 2023.
Good the Bad and the Downright Ugly
A number of organisations advertise aggressively to help you manage your career. Some charge huge sums of money to give you the benefit of their experience and resources. Having been unlucky enough to have the benefit of an outplacement service, it was sold as a positive program for honing my employment skills. A promise of one-to-one coaching and re-jigging my CV etc. The 12-month contract with the career management agency resulted in no interviews, employment leads, or investment in the client. I had a few printed sheets with “tricky interview questions” and a list of web-based job sites to search – and that was it! The consultant was more interested in getting his lunch than helping me move forward. A horrible experience I would not wish anyone to go through.
So please be aware of unsubstantiated promises from the coach. In some senses, it is a case of buyer beware. Look for a track record of success in the area, and qualifications, and talk to people that the coach has supported in the past for the low down. Ask the coach for a trial or scoping session to find out if they work in a style that will suit you. Most of all support you to move you closer to the outcomes that you want.
The 5-Point Career Nudging Plan
Clearly, not everyone will want to work with a career coach. If that is the case here are five key aspects that you might want to consider adding to your to-do list to hopefully get you moving forward. All of these action points can be done whilst you are at work in your current role. They will help you be more strategic and build better relationships. Whilst helping you to be in pole position as and when opportunities arise. That said if you are looking for another job due to redundancy etc, these key action points will help you focus on your next steps.
1. Competence and skill will always trump “Passion”
Developing workplace skills, and building career capital and ability is the major reason that will lead to career success. It’s always important to be better educated, develop more valuable career/work skills, get more qualifications, etc. The reams of “follow your dreams or passions” advice will not trump your ability and valuable skills necessary to do your job. Or convince a recruiter that you are the right person for the role. Having the right attitude and ability to go the extra mile will always score more Brownie points wherever you are. So start to look for opportunities for career and personal development, that will add value to your CV and professional profile. Promote these skills actively both face-to-face and on social media.
2. See the bigger career picture
In general terms, those who view their job or career narrowly, or who do the least, will more than likely struggle to get ahead. Look into ways to grow in your job and career. Try to understand how your work can have an impact on and benefit others. Be aware of opportunities to make yourself increasingly more valuable to the department/organization by expanding the scope of your job. Thus making yourself a valuable asset to the business. This really backs up the points previously made about skills and competencies.
3. Play up and play the career game
All companies consist of people who are trying to get things done. Though we also know that people are also trying to move forward in their own careers. Organisations develop rules (usually nonconscious) and how things should get done. Clearly, it is important that you understand the rules of the game, and what’s more learn to play by the rules.
If you feel brave, you may want to push back or suggest changing the rules. However, this should always be done strategically and thoughtfully. Psychologist Robert Hogan calls this developing “sociopolitical intelligence,” and it distinguishes those who know how to play the game to get ahead. It is very important, however, to play the game fairly and be mindful of the effects on other people.
4. Bring reliability and trustworthiness.
Turning up at work on time and getting the job done is obviously a vital part of getting on in your career. Nothing is more valuable than an employee who can be counted on, to meet deadlines, or pull their weight when times get tough. We all have to try to maintain our reputation of reliability with both clients and customers, either internal or external. It is very important to not make promises you can’t keep or take on more than you are capable of doing in the time span allotted. Remember to under-promise but over-deliver. Always be straight with people and your line manager when you fail to hit the mark and try to do your level best to make amends as soon as you can.
5. Building solid and lasting relationships.
Treating others as we would like to treat ourselves is always a good way to support our relationships at work. Being fair and forgiving is important, as it’s the foundation of a good relationship. However building strong interpersonal relationships is important because others can help you get ahead, point out opportunities, and make connections that will help your career move forward.
Though for most of us, creating and fostering trusted and lasting relationships are the keys to a successful, and satisfying, work career.
I know it all sounds a little onerous and that it’s a bit too much hassle to search out and engage a competent, experienced, and qualified career coach. Though if you are one of the 47% looking to change your career, it’s a small price to pay to change your career & life for the better. The reassurance is that when it works, career coaching will energise and give you the support necessary to achieve your future career goals.
However, as mentioned before, not everyone wants to or needs a career coach to move their career forward. If that is the case the five-point plan will help to nudge you forward and to get all your ducks in a row. Hopefully, push on for your well-earned promotion or perhaps a career change. Or better still get you in the door for an interview for a chance to kick start your working life again. Good luck and let’s hope for a better 2023.