What Career Next!
Ca r eer Change and Pl acemen t Speci a li sts

Careers Terminology1: Career is a sequence of work experiences normally implying some growth and development or improvement in competencies recognised by others, which an individual has over their working life. In a knowledge-based economy, careers represent the development of knowledge reservoirs. These reservoirs reflect the breadth and depth of working experiences and the learning style of the person. Essential competency requirements in a knowledge-based career are the development of transferable skills and ability to transfer these skills to new working situations by the individual. Career development covers all those learning situations, at work or outside of work, which develops an individual's work-related competencies. This can include learning opportunities that are self-selected and organisational learning (training and development) programs. Career management is the planned programs and activities that an organisation creates to develop the careers of its people. Career management policy is a statement by senior management defining their goals for careers in their organisation, and identifies essential principles of becoming the preferred employer and developing people through joint business and personal growth. Their career policy will assign responsibilities and accountabilities for career management roles within their organisation. Career Grid is a map of all internal positions available to staff of the organisations in three primary directions: • • • Upward – vertical promotion opportunities Horizontal – transfers available across the organisation Lateral – promotion within the job according to improving job performance

These grids are prepared to show available positions (1) and actual postings made (2) by them. Organisations must keep these up-to-date and circulated to all staff, in line with People Developer Program requirements. Career management competencies are skills and knowledge that each role in an organisation carries with it, defining its specific role for contributing to career development. Senior managers, middle managers, supervision and all employees will have career role statements assigned to them. There will also be competencies for human resources staff in their role as career management facilitators.

Sources of Reference include: Hirsh, W., Jackson, C. & Jackson, C. 1995. Careers in Organisations: Issues for the Future. Report 287, The Institute for Employment Studies UK. People Developer Program. Singapore Productivity and Standards Board 1998. © What Career Next! 2000 All Rights Reserved Page 1 of 3

Careers information systems cover systems created to promote career development in staff. These systems include internal databases for staff resumes open to all hiring managers, jobs listings in the organisation, career development programs (learning programs, career exploration programs, details of fast-track development programs, cross functional work opportunities etc). These systems may include self-assessment programs that give staff insights into their eligibility and suitability for different jobs. When made available on-line these programs can be accessed by employees from within and outside working hours and accessed from home or elsewhere; such access demonstrates advanced career information systems. Career anchors are very stable descriptions of your ‘real self’ that relate to your preferred work. They are your competencies, motives and values that you are not willing to give up. You may be temporarily diverted from them by higher pay or circumstances beyond your control. However, you will always return to your career anchor when you are given the chance, because it is the real you. It is a form of self-expression that you will choose most at work. Edgar Schein identified eight career anchors that describe everyone’s set of preferences to express themselves at work: technical/functional competency, general managerial competency, autonomy/independence, security/stability, entrepreneurial creativity, service/dedication to a cause, pure challenge and lifestyle. Just one of these anchors fits you best, (one will tend to dominate, the others you are willing to sacrifice). Career resilience means being sufficiently flexible to adapt to changes in your environment or needs. Be able to cope with changes in your career path not chosen by you but continue to build your dreams through continuous learning in all work situations. Knowing what your preferred vocation is and always working towards that dream, can help you to survive the divergent paths that your actual career may take. Build your competencies (skills, knowledge and behaviors) bank so that it is more likely for you to return to your chosen vocation. Adaptability to circumstances and learning to make the very best of that circumstance for their future shows in a person with career resilience. Your Vocation is your occupation or business line that you currently are working in. It might be customer service or banking and finance or IT or research and development, any field of work. During my university days, my vocation had two components: student and hotel staff. Then I was working part-time to earn pocket money whilst I studied full time. Now my vocation is a career coach. Interestingly, I have been lucky enough to be in a position to choose what to do next. I have chosen this path after working in another vocation for many years. That earlier vocation has certainly provided many transferable skills and knowledge to my vocation today. These are important elements of successful career change. Millionaires in the USA say that their most important career decision is their choice of vocation. Fully 81% of these Millionaires say that they are successful because they are doing what they want in a vocation that makes full use of their abilities and aptitudes. They are working in the field of their dreams. 86% of the millionaires rate love of their career as an imprtant success factor for them. 68% say that they found their career ‘by accident’. His includes 29% who stumbled across a great opportunity that suited them very well, 27% who discovered by trail and error (one classic millionaire who tried – and failed - nine different sales jobs before specialising in marketing strategic development) and 12% who disliked or lost a previous job. Each one of these millionaires persevered until they found their ideal vocation.

© What Career Next! 2000 All Rights Reserved

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Career Plateau the highest plain of your current career. Plateau is a flat region – a position where you haven’t been promoted for some time. No Michael, it is not the same as Peter’s Principle. That is where someone is promoted beyond their competency rather than reaching a plateau within their competency. So, Mike it is truly okay to be experiencing a career plateau. Indeed many middle managers and other levels of staff are there already. The outlook is good for them. You see, your career development is in your hands. You must take the lead and work together with your employer to seek wider job scope (job enlargement) and deeper responsibilities (job enrichment). Usually job enlargement is easy to get these days with down-sizing and multitasking. Most people have too many hats rather than too few. Job enrichment can include responsibility for special tasks or projects (for example developing cross-functional team-work to add value for your customers). The frameworks for career development are two-fold: you build and develop learning relationships at work, (not just with your supervisor/manager but elsewhere) and your company’s career management program. Career risk: leaving your career for someone else to manage (e.g. your company); or trying to manage your career entirely on your own. Both of these strategies are risky ones! Another career risk is being too heavily influenced by others in you career decision-making. Recall that your career anchor (self-image) determines your best likely working position. Find out what that is and then consult your company as well those you respect and if necessary a career coach to help you make a better decision. Oh, another career risk is to avoid taking a risk with you career choice. In today’s knowledgebased economy, risk is a larger part of the job landscape. Understand the risk-reward relationship and seek information to reduce the uncertain components of risk in your decision-making. Learning involves solving risk, so try not to avoid risk – keep learning, and please ask for help when you need it too.

John M. Read Certified International Job & Career Transition Coach Managing Consultant What Career Next! Registered in Singapore Tel: 354 3551

© What Career Next! 2000 All Rights Reserved

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