I recently did a Linkedin survey asking my network of esteemed professionals “What career change situation do they most want to be in and wish that there is more support available for?” and the majority of votes came in for vertical or diagonal moves and totally different career paths.
I reached out to some of the responders individually to find out the type of support they wished were available for both of these career transitions and most of their answers resonated with my personal experience which I’ve summarised below.
- A transparent process in place by the company for career path planning.
- A place they can go to get connected and for trusted advice.
- Distinct requirements that they need to have to land them their next role.
- A dependable source to help them know how to get started.
- Personal growth - the new work environment should also contribute to their individual development as well as that of their family’s, if they have one e.g. children’s education, culture if the role is a relocation, spouse’s career, etc.
- Financial impact - money is not the main driver but it is an important driver. Ultimately, the new package should contribute to their personal ambition.
- Safety - if the new role is a relocation, the security to survive in the new place is crucial; especially if family is involved in the move.
- Progression potential - treating each move as a stepping stone to greater heights and not a dead-end; there should be visibility of where to go to next, or even a few steps ahead, from the potential new role.
- Alignment with values and vision - fundamentally, the work needs to be meaningful for it to be fulfilling and nothing is more rewarding than personal satisfaction.
As you can see, we all have our different circumstances, priorities and motivations. Hence, this is why I believe companies can only provide guidance and not a specific structure in place for their employees' career path planning because it’s quite impossible to take a one-size-fits-all approach towards each personnel’s unique situation.
Learning from my personal experience and observations in the corporate setting, ambitious individuals will need to take charge of their career changes by sharing their aspirations with their line manager and as early on as possible so that they will get the support that they may need to move in the direction that they want. However, this is also where things get cloudy as not every line manager has their subordinates’ interest at heart. More often than not, line managers would keep things strictly professional and focus on the needs of the business than the employee.
So, knowing where and how to get the right assistance is important. As one who’s navigated the sea of career changes, I've moved vertically from one company to another, diagonally within the same company and even changed my career path from a global corporate employee to running my own practice. What I’ve found in my voyage is that external and internal networking is incredibly beneficial for information sharing - that is, you getting the information that you need to make a measured decision but also, it is an opportunity for you to put your aspirations out there and get noticed. Apart from my line manager, the key people I’ve networked with are external recruiters and internal HR business partners as well as mentors and subject matter experts whose advice has been invaluable in shaping my career journey to where it is today.
How do you navigate through your career changes? Drop me a comment below.
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