This is a guest blog by Mary Jane Riccardi MBA, SPHR
Managing a career is not always an easy task. Maybe you are fresh out of school or just starting your engineering career. Or maybe you have several years under your belt and feel like you are doing the same things over and over again. Regardless of your current status, embracing your career management can be frustrating. How do you know where to start?
Often there is no clear career path to follow. You may be in a situation where you feel like you are being used by your organization because they show no interest in your career progression. Or, you may feel you have made progress, but still feel somewhat stagnant and frustrated. These feelings can often lead to what is seen as the only possible next step, to go elsewhere.
Lack of career management can also have serious business consequences. The perception of no room for career growth can result in increased turnover. The lack of inadequate bench strength to fill new open positions could impede business growth. The cost of recruiting new employees as a result of unwanted turnover is an unnecessary expense. And not leveraging talent for optimal business results is a waste of human capital.
How Career Development Evolved
Back in September 2012 ATD, the Association for Talent Development (known at the time as ASTD, American Society for Training & Development) published an article by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni called, “Lose the Career Ladder and Hit the Wall.” The premise of the article was very profound. Career development is no longer always about climbing the corporate ladder. Career development can come in many moves that are up, down, around, and over. Taking on new challenges and developing broader skills where one can increase their contribution to the organization while making themselves more marketable and valuable overall.
Ever since reading this article (which I have read several times since it was originally published) I have approached conversations about career development with this model in mind. Career development is a personal pursuit. It is unrealistic to think a traditional career path (ladder) model is the most effective approach for all. What I am interested in, what I am good at, what I am passionate about differs from everyone else. So, for me to manage my career to meet my expectations, I need to understand what I need to do to achieve my goals and my employer can help by providing tools, resources, and overall support for me to get there.
3-Steps to Career Management
First Step – Perform Self-Assessments
Second Step – Conduct an Honest Self-Check
Third Step – Goal Setting and Action Planning
Action planning is where the rubber hits the road. Nothing happens without a solid action plan. The 70-20-10 model works well for development planning.
- 70% of your action plan should include hands-on experience; refining job skills, decision-making, addressing challenges and interacting with others within work settings.
- 20% of your action plan should include interactions with others; social learning, coaching, mentoring, collaborative learning.
- 10% of your action plan should include formal training and education; formal traditional courseware instruction or other educational events.
So how clear are you when it comes to embracing your career management? The below Get Started section will help you start to assess your situation and provide guidance on next steps. Read each question and evaluate whether you are unclear about the answer, vague, or very clear or anywhere in between. Then starting with Step 1: Perform Self-Assessments, start to clarify anything vague or unclear.
Career management is a journey and no one does it alone. I wish you well on your journey.
1. Perform Self-Assessments
2. Conduct an Honest Self-Check
3. Goal Setting and Action Planning
About Mary Jane Riccardi MBA, SPHR
Mary Jane is a talent and organization development professional with expertise in aligning business needs with learning and organizational development initiatives through analysis, design, and development, and evaluation.
She teaches and administers several professional development programs and tools, such as DISC, MBTI, and EQ-I. Mary Jane also teaches Training and Development at the University of California – San Diego (UCSD) Extension.
She has worked 10 years for Kleinfelder, an engineering and science professional consulting firm, and for Bose Corporation in various training and development roles supporting manufacturing operations. She is an active member of the San Diego Chapter of the Association for Talent Development (ATD) where she has served on the Board of Directors as Co-Programs Director, Secretary, and currently as Chapter President.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share about other career management techniques.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success