Career Mapping 5

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•Auditing your life goals and work goals

Taking an organized approach to planning a career requires that you invest in self-assessment, goal-setting and decision-making. An example of a template for “LifeWork Planning” is available from the Career Development eManual from the University of Waterloo. There are not right or wrong answers to the following questions, but they will help you sharpen your planning and possibly avoid a career crisis.

Career / Life Planning Review

Reflection Questions: Yes No
Do you get out of bed in the morning with energy and enthusiasm because you truly like and have pride in what you do, a feeling that your work is useful?
Do you know how you contribute to the overall success of the organization? This applies equally to the profit and non-profit sectors.
When it comes time for restructuring or beginning a new project, those individuals with perceived value will be rewarded with a new assignment. Has management acknowledged your contributions, especially regarding attitudes, conduct and productivity?
Are you receiving cross-training or rotational assignments to add to your career development? Are you contributing to team building, conflict resolution, the training of others, and to the total systems approach to improvement?
Do you still feel like you are growing and advancing? Do you feel you are on the right team in the right organization?
Are your daily tasks and assignments challenging you? Are you putting forth your share of solutions or creative answers?
Are you able to manage or cope with the politics of the organization? Are you able to do what you think is right and maintain your integrity?
Do you receive encouragement to continue your learning activities? Do you receive training, financial reimbursement, etc.?
Have you established a relationship with a mentor, or mentors, inside or outside of your workplace? Alternatively, are you ready to be a mentor to someone who could learn from your experience and achievements?
Have you undertaken more responsibility or greater amounts of work and feel that you are being adequately remunerated for it?
Does your chosen work fit in with your lifestyle preferences? Are you able to balance your work requirements with your personal health and habits, as well as your relationship with family and friends?
Are you working in the field and in the work environment that is satisfying and takes you closer to your long-term goals?

You may find a pattern emerging in your answers. Please note there are no right or wrong set of answers, only feedback for you to help you think about where you are on you career journey. Is there need for a drastic change, a minor correction or a pat on your back because you are moving along well toward your short- and long-term goals? Whenever it is necessary, you can start again at Step 1 in the Manual to achieve career / life planning success. People have more power over their lives than they think they have. Look for ways within yourself, your work and your overall life to create positive change. Start with one step at a time toward the life you want.

“Six Steps to Success.” Career Development eManual. Waterloo, Canada: University of Waterloo. Retrieved from March 11, 2009.

•Long-term and short-term goals

Golfers are trained to avoid hitting the “big ball,” by which is meant the Earth, and encouraged first to keep their eye on and hit the “little ball.” In career mapping, you strive to “hit” both the big and the small targets, or your shorter-term and longer-term goals. Your career map needs to include those incremental achievements that will eventually lead you to your long-term goals. In conjunction with your supervisor, you should work to integrate these goals into the organizational paths, resources and opportunities that are available.

Author Lee Duffus (2004) proposes that employees develop a time-based Personal Strategic Plan, or PSP, to facilitate career advancement. Elements of a PSP include:

  • The Resume
  • Personal Analysis
    • Long and short term objectives
    • Specific accomplishments
    • Current and historical education and training background
    • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Affiliations, honors, and awards
  • Background Analysis:
    • Environmental, marketplace and competitive factors impacting the industry and organization
    • Strategic human resource implications for both industry and organization
  • Strategies to achieve the short term and strategic objectives
  • Action plans to achieve the short term and strategic objectives
  • Performance assessment-monitoring process

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