We’d all like to believe that there’s a career fairy godmother out there guiding our careers. We may have even had someone at one point in our career help us out a little, maybe give us some good advice, or let us try something new. When it comes down to it though, most of us are on our own to figure out our career path and get the guidance we need to create what we want.
When I was working in the corporate world, I was on a specific career path. I was an Event Manager. If you know anything about events, they are exhausting. They are in the top ten of most stressful jobs. This is not my opinion but fact, as stated by CareerCast.com. An Event Manager is right behind being a police officer and before Public Relations, which I did later in my career.
Early in my career, a manager came along who opened up the possibility of expanding my role from just events to promotions as well. I wasn’t so sure about it at first but I eventually found that I loved it. I wanted my career to continue down that path and phase out being an events manager. Things change though and as a cog in the corporate world you are rarely in control of the change. A re-organization of the marketing groups was needed. This seemed to happen often but I hadn’t really ever been impacted by it. This time was different. The director of marketing decided to separate out the events and promotions disciplines and he wanted me to stay on as Events Manager. The promotions team was going to be a separate group. I didn’t actually get a say in the situation. One day I was doing both roles and ecstatic about my new career direction and the next day I was only managing events again. I decided to write an email to the director and voice my concerns and state my needs and plans for my career path. It was a great email. He responded, agreeing that it was a great email and he heard me but this was what he had to do for the business.
Ah, the business. It’s not about the person; it’s about the business. Many years ago, a mentor to one of my best friends told her, “It’s business. They’ll fire you tomorrow if they have to so you need to look out for yourself. No one else will.” She shared that advice with me and although I find it incredibly pessimistic, which goes against every fiber of my being, it’s true.
You are responsible for your career and well-being. No one else. If you want something different for your career, you can’t expect anyone else to take ownership of it. You have to make it happen.
That may feel a little lonely but I’d like to think of it as empowering. You are in control and whatever you want you get to create. Of course people can help you and I’m sure they do. What’s even better is if you help others. I always believe in helping anyone looking for work or career guidance because I believe it always comes back.
So where do you want to be in five years? What are you going to do today to take control of your career?
The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.
– George Bernard Shaw
Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.
– Margaret Young