Career Management


How to manage your careerHow can you manage your career when so much of your fate is in your boss's hands? Other than leave, which you can control, what else can you do to manage your career while staying with your current employer? 

Many employees leave, not just because they aren't progressing fast enough, but because they feel frustrated with having so little control over their career. The key to managing your career is to think like more like a business person and less like an employee.

You may leave your current employer, not just for a better opportunity but to show them that you are worth more than they recognized. Because you didn't feel that you were progressing fast enough, you felt undervalued. You feel resentful and you want to get even, to feel genuinely valued again. In this state of mind, it is easy to rationalize that things will be better in your new job. Certainly you might get a reasonable pay increase, but you may not feel that great once the honeymoon is over. You may feel that you will just have to accept things for awhile until you feel the urge to move again.

To gain fuller control over your career, you need to start thinking of yourself as an entrepreneurial business person and your internal stakeholders as customers. You are in a market and you need to develop new services and attract new customers. This mindset can help you take more initiative to promote yourself. It's not about boasting about how good you are. It's a matter of exerting yourself to get closer to key customers, those who could buy your services - offer you a better job, that is. This may sound daunting but the key to success is to focus on THEIR needs, by continually asking questions regarding what they are trying to achieve and what obstacles are in their way. It's not about focusing on your needs for career advancement. If you build good relationships, your career will take care of itself.


Edgar Schein developed the idea of career anchors - what people most want out of a career

He came up with 8 career anchors ---

  1. Autonomy/independence - wanting to be self reliant - useful with today's contracting out.
  2. Security/stability - wanting to remain with one employer for life - not so likely any more. 
  3. Technical/functional competence - to identify with a professional discipline. 
  4. General management - having a broad, overview, facilitating role, not a specialist. 
  5. Entrepreneurial creativity - a premium wherever innovation drives competitiveness. 
  6. Service - dedication to worthwhile causes ranging from the environment to poverty. 
  7. Pure challenge - just solving difficult problems - no pattern necessary. 
  8. Life style - disinclination to sacrifice life style solely for career advancement.

You may combine a few of these career anchors, but there should be one at the top of your list.

Career Management Tips