3 actions which are essential for a rewarding career
Having worked for some years, you are now at a stage where you are productive in your role. You are a good performer, consistently delivering what your role demands of you.
Having got here, what could be the next milestones to work towards in your career?
Three goals to work towards are
Be compensated competitively
Grow expertise & knowledge
Build job resiliency
Be compensated competitively
Productive workers tend to be valued and in most cases will be compensated well in their current role and organization.
However, it is incumbent on you to ensure that your compensation is competitive.
The first step is to ensure an open dialog with your supervisor to understand how you benchmark vs. peers within your company. Annual review cycles are a great time to have this conversation and to discuss if your compensation matches your performance.
Step 2 is to assess if your organization is competitive in compensating roles like yours or are peer companies a better alternative.
If companies outside your present one compensate much better for similar performance, it may be time to consider a move.
While considering the move, make an assessment that the skills which have made you productive in your current role are portable and will also allow you to be productive in the new organization. Also assess if your productivity is dependent on the network which you have built within your present employer. If it is, then you may see a dip in your performance when moving to a new employer. Factor that in when you are considering the move.
If in a role which is closely tethered to a particular industry (pharma research, apparel merchandizing, selling technology services) then the best option is to consider a move to another organization within the same industry. Your new employer does is similar to that of your present one and your experience and expertise should allow you to deliver results quickly. If in corporate roles like IT, HR, legal, logistics, and facilities management, also consider moving across industries. These roles tend to be portable across industries and you might find better opportunities to improve compensation in another industry.
Keep growing expertise & knowledge
As a productive worker you are adept at the work which you do, and deliver consistently high output and efficiently.
Continuing to do the same will ensure that you are producing, but at some time there is the risk of stagnation in learning and subsequently your professional worth.
Hence, once you have achieved a high level of productivity in the current role, it’s time to challenge yourself to take on more complex work within your profession.
If you are a salesperson go after more complex sales. If in IT, HR, medical sciences or any other knowledge based role – invest in learning newer methods and technologies/skills. This continuous effort at learning and taking on more complex challenges will ensure that you enhance your expertise & mitigate the risk of stagnation.
Be aware that taking on these new challenges will push you into new areas. The work will be new and you may find that from being top of your game you are now struggling to learn the new work and become adept at it. This can be uncomfortable for workers who were delivering consistently and being recognized for it. However, this continuous learning will ensure your professional growth & learning and mitigate the risk of stagnation.
Do it proactively when you are performing well, so that you don’t need to do it when you have your back to the wall.
Build job resiliency
During the course of your career, the nature of jobs will change. Some will get more automated, others will become redundant – and this may happen more than once.
To ensure resiliency in your career, be alert to these changes. Is your work getting routinized and hence likely to get automated or outsourced?
If you see the risk of redundancy, automation or outsourcing, it’s time to assess what are the other roles where your skills can be redeployed. For example, can your skills in IT can be redeployed to the fast growing platform development areas in e-commerce / social media and connectivity. Or, can your sales acumen and network be effective in a faster growing industry continuous to your current one.
Look for roles in your stream of work or in industries which are growing rapidly and hence will ensure a home at least in the coming many years. Make the move.
At some time in your career, you will become proficient in your job. You will be recognized as a productive worker and find yourself being awarded and compensated as a high performer.
Having got there, it’s time to work on three action items to ensure that you are fairly rewarded for what you are delivering and at the same time investing in the future of your career.
Ensure that you are compensated commensurate to your performance? If not, then it may be time to investigate options outside your current employer
Challenge yourself to learn new skills, gather new experiences to elevate your level of competency and avoid stagnation
Keep a watch on the longevity of the role which you are in. If you see these roles shrinking work actively to move to roles which are growing and your skills can be repurposed and deployed.
Be proactive and take action on these three and build a rewarding career