In today's highly competitive world, jobs are not in the palms of our hand. A fresh graduate with a finance degree may have to work in a company in the marketing department because of the limited number of jobs in Bangladesh compared to the fresh graduates passing out each year. It is very difficult to get a job that matches one's education background and for this reason, one can get disheartened and also be de-motivated. In the long run, both the employee and the organisation suffer in terms of productivity and performance of the employee.
Checklist for a bright career
A bright career is rarely straightforward and often means moving from one branch to another in the management tree. Changing jobs may often be a necessary feature of success, giving us the experience and flexibility to navigate corporate power.
Climbing the management tree and being successful is not generally left to chance. We need to know ourselves down to the roots -- strengths, weaknesses, ambitions, values and thereby, be able to establish a strong career plan, which has to be well-managed.
Reaching our goal seems to grow harder the nearer we get to it. At this point, we usually need our experience in organisational politics and knowledge of the industry's culture to achieve our goals. Staying on top of the tree means seeking continued growth and avoiding stagnation in our career.
The following are some checklists we may follow to successfully manage our profession -
Proper planning is key to successful career progression. Accordingly, we should therefore keep the following things in mind:
* Being realistic about our ambitions, our strengths and weaknesses and also not being overambitious.
* Starting career planning early in our management career and keeping our own counsel; being wary of trusting others unless we are sure of our trust; being careful of our reputation; studying the politics of the organisation.
* Staying well informed: reading extensively and discussing industry affairs with experts and closely following our company's results, share prices, knowing who the major shareholders are and meeting the company's brokers.
* Developing a grapevine to give us feedback on our reputation.
* Joining relevant professional, industrial or trade associations and becoming active in it, if we enjoy it and find it progressive.
Creating the right image
Having the right image can boost our career in a major way. The following things may be considered when creating the right image for ourselves:
* Building a strong team to complement our overall skills and giving subordinates assignments which are crucial to the company's success and ensuring that the results are well publicized;
* Supporting the efforts of junior managers more which will be helping their careers and ensure their strong loyalty as a result;
* Never publicly belittling our competition for career progression;
* Making sure our values relate to our industry and supporting them strongly;
* Deciding and being prepared to defend our stance on significant issues and matters, which are vital to our organization;
* Developing friendships with media professionals but not becoming their pawns;
* If we can befriend and handle the media professionals effectively, we can request for appearances on TV or radio or even at different speaking engagements and thereby, preparing ourselves accordingly. Furthermore, we can even get advice from them on how to make presentations to large audiences and also to the media as well.
Changing jobs can be a major life changing decision for us. The following things may be considered when changing our jobs at the right time:
* We should never leave our career changing decisions too long; it is better to risk changing jobs sooner than we would like or we may get blocked at some point in our career.
* We may consider changing our jobs if we peak in our position too early or if recent success enhances our market value or if our talents are not recognised in our present job. Changing jobs in the right time may boost our career to new horizons.
* We may also regularly update our CV professionally.
* We may consider gathering experience from other industries or different countries. This kind of job change often allows us to acquire a breadth of knowledge, which is generally deemed necessary for a top executive.
* We should never underestimate the value of a good headhunter in our job changing strategy. Headhunters can play a major role in landing dream jobs, which would otherwise be very difficult to attain.
Getting to the top
Career progression is very important for us in order to be successful in our profession. The following things may be considered in order to have an effective progress in our career:
* Always strive for working for the winners, which can boost career growth in your organization;
* Recruiting highly competent people to cover our weaknesses;
* Being loyal, but not jeopardising our career because of loyalty;
* Understanding organisational politics and acting accordingly;
* Being ready to make firm, if unpopular, decisions for protecting organisational as well as self-interest;
* Reconciling the company's well-being with our personal needs;
* Discovering the values of each level of organisation and matching our achievements to them.
Staying on top
Staying at the top in our profession is also very important for us in order ensure that we are able to achieve our professional goals. The following things may be considered in order to stay at the top of our career:
* Training our loyal supporters to help us win political battles;
* Ensuring broad support for our policies;
* Using the media to carry our message effectively;
* Seeking new challenges, e.g.in politics or community affairs or becoming a non- executive director of other companies or even starting our own private enterprise;
* Avoiding pet projects and concentrating mainly on our business's central issues.
In the context of Bangladesh, it is not very easy to be focused in our career and in many cases it is very difficult to maintain and follow the right path to successfully climb the corporate ladder. Therefore, it is necessary to have career focus first, then setting a long term goal by dreaming big and combining it with passion. Finally, selecting a mentor to guide us or talk with our superiors is necessary to achieve our career goals.
In the end, achieving success in our career can never be guaranteed, but we will be able to get better results if we are able to effectively manage our profession.
The writer is the Head of HR & Admin at Grameen Telecom Trust. firstname.lastname@example.org
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