Few of us take the time to actually plan our careers. Too often, a career is something that just seems to happen to us. We take a job, and five years later we discover that we have a “career”. The career planning process is relevant and valuable whether you are in the first year of your first job, or 20 years into your career. A good career path can help you make your career happen instead of just settling for what shows up
Current thinking on career management emphasizes five possible career directions. Understanding these strategies can help you in your career planning process since some certain types of movement are available in some jobs and not others.
- Upward movement-the traditional conception of career growth. Typically an option for larger companies with multiple layers of management.
- Downward movement-sometimes a positive career move when you have been promoted or hired into the wrong role and you have a mismatch of values or competencies for a position.
- Lateral movement-movement from one job type to another.
- Moving on-sometimes career goals can best be realized by moving on to a position in another organization.
- Enrich the current job-involves developing yourself and expanding the duties in your present job. This is a traditional path in smaller P & C agencies.
The following is a simple four step process to keep your career path on track.
- Setting my values compass is the first step. A good compass will help you find True North when there is no visibility. Likewise, having clearly articulated values that tie to your key life roles and goals allow you to identify what’s truly important and to orchestrate your activities into big accomplishments over the long run, such as completing the education and work experience required to obtain a more challenging and higher paying position.
- After you have established your value compass direction, then you set out to map a five year career path. Competencies are the underlying characteristics of a five year career path. Knowing what you are competent of doing will give you direction. Some examples of competencies are easily identifiable such as skills and knowledge. Less obvious examples of competencies include items like behavioral traits/preference, motives, social roles. They can be found in position descriptions, through personality and trait testing like the “Omnia Profile”
- Providing provisions for the journey. It’s time to really dig in and be with honest yourself. Which competencies have you mastered and which you need to develop in order to start you journey and to successfully navigate your five year plan.
Staying the course, the following are development methods to keep your career compass pointed true North.
Here are a few recommendations on where to start:
- Designations, for example CIC, CRM and CPCU.
- Classroom and insurance company training classes
Best wishes and good luck on your career journey!