Why You Need to Start Treating Your Career Like Big Business

Publications
09 April 2019

Why You Need to Start Treating Your Career Like Big Business

David Burke, Director

What does it take to build a career that supports a life you want to lead? A career that’s rewarding, progressive and engaging, but also allows you to do the things you really care about - without compromise.

Because for all the pool tables, bean bags and duvet days, going to work remains something we do for 80% of our lives. Something we regularly prioritise above all else. And something many of us leave in the hands of business leaders, head-hunters or opportunistic competitor firms.

People who have no idea what we really want to learn and experience at work and in life.

The world of business has changed radically over the last half decade. Business is conducted more informally, more socially and people want to know and hire people, not profiles. It’s easy to organically (and mindlessly) progress through your career.

But if you really want to own your career trajectory and the experiences and opportunities it brings, you need to own your career and your personal brand.

If you’re already looking at how to improve your work and lifestyle, but still not finding the engaging, revitalising career you really want, it’s time to start treating your career like big business. 

What does ‘treating my career like big business’ mean?

It means treating your career like it’s a business and you are the MD.

An MD would never start a new project or deploy a new product to market without a plan.

They’d build a strategy and execute on it.

This shift in mindset swings you into control. Now you’re at the helm of the ship, you get to set a course for the career you really want.

Start thinking about what success looks like to you

To build a strategy you need to define what success looks like. And that’s the ticket here. When you understand the life and work style you seek, you have goals and an end game to work towards.

Is achieving the very peak of your capabilities important to you?

Or would you be happy with a level of achievement that gives you pride and satisfaction but allows you to blend career with family or personal lifestyle choices and interests?

Your endgame needn’t be retirement. Set goals for one, five or 10 years ahead. In fact, a mix of long and short term goals can keep you on your toes. It doesn’t matter when the deadline is, it doesn’t matter what the goal is so long as it aligns to your vision of success.

Is achieving the very peak of your capabilities important to you?

Or would you be happy with a level of achievement that gives you pride and satisfaction but allows you to blend career with family or personal lifestyle choices and interests?

Your endgame needn’t be retirement. Set goals for one, five or 10 years ahead. In fact, a mix of long and short term goals can keep you on your toes. It doesn’t matter when the deadline is, it doesn’t matter what the goal is so long as it aligns to your vision of success.

Understand the skills and experiences you’ll need

With your current employer, seek out clear and achievable development and promotion paths, if they are not already in place. Don’t be afraid to speak to your leadership team about your development. If they don’t take it seriously then are they really the employer for you?

Realised you’d like to change industry or expertise? Research what it will take. And remember what

Earl Nightingale said: “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

Build your profile

MDs understand the power of marketing. Having a strong social profile, a strong personal network and external visibility within your industry is crucial for maximising your potential opportunities.

Make sure you’re visible to all the right people at any time. Promote yourself in positive ways, take speaking opportunities and attend networking events to develop a relevant and varied personal brand.

Regularly review your goals

Your definition of success will change as priorities and opportunities shift. That’s OK. You might also have dozen ideas you want to work on. That’s OK too.

Don’t be afraid to choose now. And don’t be afraid to choose again later.

It’s important to keep your reasons for progress front of mind. This will motivate you when times are hard, serve as a wake-up call if you’ve been in a role too long, and a litmus test for taking new opportunities. Keep asking: does this take me nearer to my goal?

Seek business (career) advice

Business owners know success is not achieved alone. Advice from mentors, coaches or colleagues is worth heeding. Business leaders surround themselves with like-minded ambitious people who are rooting for their success. Do you? Now’s the time to start.

Also, you never know who people know. Sharing your goal with a peer could lead to the breakthrough career move you’ve been looking for.

No one else will do this for you

What’s the difference between letting bosses, recruiters and other people choose your career trajectory and taking control of your progress, getting clear about what you want and making moves only you govern? Happiness, satisfaction, success and (more often than not) wealth.

On April 11th, Harvey Nash Ireland will be hosting a panel at the Dublin Tech Summit. For those looking to build their personal brand and connect with like-minded peers it will be a fantastic foray.

Join us for “Scale or Fail? How to navigate your way through change”. Register your interest by emailing katy.smith@harveynash.ie