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 

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

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  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!


    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  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!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

Tell me what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

CommentLuv badge

Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree

This blog uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 3 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 3)


  • Add to Technorati Favorites
  • Google FriendsConnect

  • Sponsors

Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Technorati button Reddit button Myspace button Linkedin button Webonews button Delicious button Digg button Flickr button Stumbleupon button Newsvine button Youtube button