Why you should focus on your career, not your Job

Why you should focus on your career, not your Job

The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, and you can't afford to spend those hours feeling unfulfilled. Building a career you are proud of requires strategic and deliberate actions. 

The time spent at work often leads us to merge our jobs with our identity. It can easily narrow our mind into focusing on what's in front of us instead of what's ahead. 

No one is more invested in your success than you. While companies make an effort to support your career development, the buck eventually stops at your table. Another perspective is to understand that a company's investment in your development will most likely be tied to how it can contribute to their bottom line. You need to know that your job is not your career. Your job is only a tool to build your career. 

4 ways to build your career 

Have a goal 

You need to have a long-term vision for what you want out of your career. Once you figure that out, the next thing is to plot a process to get there. Questions like What do you need to do to get promoted? Where do you want to be in the next five-ten years? If you look at your current job and your current trajectory and there is no clear line between this and where you want to be in the future, you need to restrategize. 

Be proactive

Be proactive about what you want. For instance, let's say you work in sales and you would love to work in customer service. It's up to you to make that clear to your manager and to also be proactive about taking up tasks that would enhance your customer service skills. When you see an opportunity, go for it. Make it clear to the people you work with and your network that you are looking for opportunities in those areas. 

Look out for opportunities to acquire new skills. 

There is a quote that says that success is often a hindrance to growth. Have you been in a scenario where you had to leave a role and, in the process of finding another, you realise that your industry has moved ahead and your skills are now outdated? 

Focusing on your job instead of your career can pull you into a false sense of safety where you feel that you don't need to do anything more or improve on what you already know. It's possible for your skills to become irrelevant or redundant. You should keep your skills updated and pick up lateral skills outside of what you do as well. You never know when you'll need it. 

Take ownership at work 

Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and take up responsibilities outside what you've been hard for that you believe would play well in your long-term vision for your career. Having extra skills but the next person in your role didn't bother to have can make you an invaluable addition to any company 

Find a mentor 

Having a mentor can keep you on your toes in achieving your career goals. You need someone who can act as a sounding board when you need to make decisions regarding your career and also provide advice drawn from your own experience of building a successful career. 

You should often pause to ask yourself if I am let go or if there is a reason for me to leave, would I fit into a new company with ease? Is this what I want to be doing in the next few years? 

When you focus on your career instead of your job, it takes the focus out of just meeting your deliverables to improving yourself and being the best possible version of yourself. At this point, you become more interested in the value that you can provide and the problems you can solve. It also drives you to stay relevant as industries evolve.

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