If You’re Not Where You Thought You’d Be at This Time in Your Career…

September 17, 2010 by
Filed under: Leadership, Personal Development 

UnhappyCareer1 191x300 If You’re Not Where You Thought You’d Be at This Time in Your Career…If you’re not where you thought you’d be in your career at this moment, then you need to ask your­self some tough ques­tions and decide for your­self what you need to change in order to move closer to where you want to be.

The other day over lunch, a col­league of mine asked me what steps I took to get to where I am in my career. At first I was a lit­tle puz­zled by the ques­tion com­ing from him. William has always given me the impres­sion of being a “go for it” type of guy. When I asked him what he meant by the ques­tion, he told me that he wasn’t where he thought he would be at this point in his career and wanted to know what I did in order to get to where I was in mine. This was really an inter­est­ing ques­tion to me com­ing from him. Here we were, 10 years after hav­ing orig­i­nally met at a pre­vi­ous orga­ni­za­tion where we both worked at he was an Ana­lyst (the role he was in when we orig­i­nally met) and I was now a Senior Director.

When we met, he was in process of com­plet­ing his MBA and I was in process of apply­ing to an MBA pro­gram. He even­tu­ally went on to fin­ish his MBA two years before I com­pleted mine.

This sce­nario made me quickly look at the com­par­i­son between peo­ple who are where they thought they’d be at this point in their career and those that weren’t.  After some fur­ther con­ver­sa­tion on the sub­ject with William, some rea­sons why he was where he was and why I was where I am began to come to the surface:

Hav­ing a Vision of Where You Want to Be

Hav­ing a vision of where you want to be is by no doubt extremely impor­tant. With­out it, a per­son is basi­cally play­ing Russ­ian roulette with their life’s jour­ney.   What is a Vision? Fun­da­men­tally for a com­pany or orga­ni­za­tion, it shows its desired or intended future state in terms of its objec­tive and/or strate­gic direc­tion. Vision is a long term view, some­times describ­ing how the orga­ni­za­tion would like the world in which it oper­ates to be. For a per­son, when it comes to their career, it is the view of where they want to be in life. There is a strong truth to the saying:

 “Aim for the Moon, ‘cause even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars

When it came to the con­cept of vision, William appeared to not have an answer to that ques­tion when I asked him about his vision. My vision for me has always been crys­tal clear for me. It’s ok to adjust it a lit­tle every now and then in order to make it clearer, but don’t lower your expec­ta­tion within your vision or else you’ll fall into the life trap of conformity.

Proac­tive vs. Reactive

It’s been my expe­ri­ence that when a per­son is more proac­tive, they have a greater chance of get­ting what they desire out of life than a per­son who chooses to be more reac­tive. Going back to the chat with William, I men­tioned that the com­pany he worked at was known for hav­ing a large amount of resources avail­able online so it hap­pens.  Peo­ple that work there could learn or enhance key skills that would help them grow in their career but search­ing online on the company’s inter­nal online net­work.  I even gave an exam­ple of some­one who found, and was in the process of going through, a man­age­ment cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram online at the com­pany. William’s ini­tial com­ment was more of clar­i­fi­ca­tion ques­tion, “You mean this is avail­able to all employ­ees there, includ­ing me?”  I said yes, via the company’s intranet (inter­nal inter­net sys­tem). But what was his com­ment to that? It was, “You mean you have to go out there and find it your­self!?!”  I sat there for a moment, a lit­tle stunned in all hon­esty, and then said yes. His next com­ment was even more of a stun­ner for me com­ing from some­one whom I had known as a go-getter type of guy. “You mean no one shows you where these things are online, they just expect us to find this our­selves!?!”  I had told them there are links to this infor­ma­tion on the first page of the company’s employee at which his reac­tion was that that’s not enough.

I may have been think­ing a lit­tle too crit­i­cal of him at this moment, but our other col­league at the table with us had a look on his face when he looked at him and then me that I found out later was a look of “I can’t believe William is hon­estly hav­ing a prob­lem with accept­ing that you have to go and look for ways to develop your­self with­out expect­ing some­one to always be hold­ing you hand!”  These were my thoughts exactly.

What (con­struc­tive) advice would you give to William if you were me?   


5 Intelligent Opinions, Leave Yours on If You’re Not Where You Thought You’d Be at This Time in Your Career…

  1. Mike Anderson on Sat, 18th Sep 2010 4:56 pm
  2. That is so true. Visu­al­iza­tion has been a main­stay of sports, The Secret, reli­gion, and many other suc­cess pro­grams. If you can’t see what it is you want to be, you will have a much harder time mov­ing toward it.

    For exam­ple, if you envi­sion your­self a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man, you will move toward things that will make that hap­pen. If you want to be a suc­cess­ful writer, you should envi­sion your­self accept­ing an award, get­ting a check, or appear­ing on TV.

    What­ever it is that you want, you should take some time every­day to see it in your mind, speak it out loud, and take an action toward achiev­ing it!


    Mike Ander­son recently posted..Career Politi­cians – an oxymoronMy Profile

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  3. Gil Pizano on Sat, 18th Sep 2010 10:54 pm
  4. That’s so true Mike! Can you imag­ine how much more peo­ple would be able to accom­plish in their life if they just took a lit­tle bit of time every day to envi­sion where they want to be? Speak­ing it out loud, and doing some­thing (no mat­ter how small) each and every day towards that goal?

    Thanks Mike for shar­ing your points here!


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  5. Angela Artemis on Sun, 19th Sep 2010 11:10 am
  6. Hi Gil,
    I agree with you that a moti­vated indi­vid­ual will do every­thing pos­si­ble to find a way to move for­ward with their career. The moti­vated indi­vid­ual is self-directed and proac­tive, but — hav­ing worked for huge inter­na­tional com­pa­nies most of my life I can say that some­times all the resources they have avail­able can be over­whelm­ing and can get lost among the zil­lions of emails you receive daily. The home page can also become just a blur from look­ing at it each day when you’re extremely busy and dis­tracted. At least once a quar­ter human resources should be send­ing out an email with a list of all the resources avail­able to employ­ees to remind them. If you don’t take advan­tage of it after being reminded from HR — then shame on you.
    Angela Artemis recently posted..You Become What You Think AboutMy Profile

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  7. Gil Pizano on Mon, 20th Sep 2010 7:05 am
  8. Very good points Angela! You’re right in that many cor­po­ra­tions need to be, at least some­what, atten­tive to the devel­op­ment of their employ­ees such as by send­ing out a quar­terly or monthly HR email let­ting peo­ple know what’s avail­able to them for their devel­op­ment. Espe­cially if the orga­ni­za­tion would like to stay com­pet­i­tive. If after being reminded, a per­son doesn’t take advan­tage of these, then shame on them indeed!

    Thanks Angela for shar­ing!

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  9. Linda T. on Sat, 2nd Oct 2010 2:42 am
  10. Hi nice post here about If You’re Not Where You Thought You’d Be at This Time in Your Career… What are some other areas that a per­son would need to be aware off here if they want to be effec­tive as a leader?

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