Career growth

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This is the last in my series of articles on growth. This time it’s career growth (see previous articles: (“Growth” and “Personal growth”).

Many people don’t realize the importance of investing in themselves, whether through studies, or seeking out professional support. Similar to mental health therapy and marital counselling, some feel that career coaching is for “the weak”. Often, students expect life to fall into place like a jigsaw puzzle once they graduate: they’ll get a good job, get married, have kids, retire, have grandkids, etc.

It rarely turns out that easy! Planning one’s professional life requires careful thought, and if you’re serious about your career development, it continues throughout your professional, and often, post-work life. I encourage people to develop a vision for themselves, then to chart out a career path with SMART steps identified along the way. Each step constitutes a milestone, to measure progress and feel a sense of achievement as you go along.

Along with the mindset of lifelong learning, it’s a good idea to invest time and often, money, into “grooming” yourself in a way that supports your career growth. That means sketching out what you wish to accomplish professionally, and what you’ll do to develop yourself in order to achieve that goal – taking classes, shadowing others, listening to podcasts, learning in different ways.

Like personal growth, career growth doesn’t have to stop. Many mid-career professionals look to pivot in their careers or expand their skills and knowledge by taking new courses or new assignments as they grow.

Many retirees plan to develop their careers post-retirement – learning new skills and taking on part-time or consulting gigs, volunteer work or “recreational” jobs like teaching skiing, working as bridge instructors, etc.

To get started, ask yourself questions like: What is my mission in life? How will I make an impact through my work, and on whom? How will I ensure I get there? Basically, you challenge yourself to attain your fullest potential - venturing outside your comfort zone, or taking on things you’ve not done before but feel you could accomplish.

It also means recognizing that you have potential, and then doing something to bring that out by attending classes, hiring a coach or getting a couple of mentors.

To sum up my articles on growth, both personal and career: it’s never too late to grow and develop who you are, who you want to be, and particularly, who you can become!

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