Your Career: Make Sure to Look Up
My presentation for Texas Wall Street Women in Houston last night was fun, and inspiring. If there’s any industry that fully understands the need to take control of its own career destiny, it’s the financial industry! That was an impressive group of women, and I heard a lot of great wisdom shared. In return, I offered my top 10 stories-and-strategies for becoming the change-agent of your own career. We began with Tyra Banks and ended with Oprah.
Along the way, I urged our merry band of professional women to “look up!” Too often we focus so intently on what’s on the desk in front of us that we forget to pay attention to the big picture and the passing show. We do at our own peril, given that change is the new black.
If you want to be proactive about shaping the trajectory of your career rather than remaining at the mercy of the markets or an employer, consider these four strategies:
1. Cultivate a network of experts, connectors, and champions beyond your immediate industry, company, and location. As you increase your professional responsibilities, you’ll need a broader, more diversified set of perspectives to expand your capacity.
2. Track the latest and anticipated trends in your industry and all the industries upon which yours depends. In other words, don’t ignore the proverbial writing on the wall.
3. Figure out the unspoken rules. They’re there; they are the cultural blood and muscle of your workplace. But you won’t find them annotated in the employee manual. If you can’t read the tea leaves yourself, find a mentor to help interpret.
4. Consider your career path, at least provisionally. Can you articulate your near, mid-, and long-term ambitions? With them in hand, assess which skills, experience, and knowledge you will need to acquire and plan how you’re going to develop them.