Career Drift

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Career Drift

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In this course, we will cover the topic of career drift. Everyone will face a period drift at some point in their careers – consciously or subconsciously. Identifying it early and taking active steps to resolve it, will result in a far more fulfilling and lucrative career.

This course is presented by Simon Quince a Chartered Accountant and Corporate Finance expert, and someone who has always been purposeful with his career choices and has successfully navigated away from career drift, despite working in industries where this is widely experienced. Learn more about Simon here.

Key questions

1. Are you where you expected to be at this stage in your career?

2. Have you let a period of stagnation take place, due to comfort, personal life priorities or a dip in ambition?

3. What would success look like in the next 12-18 months?

The workplace is changing dramatically, and we must consider our behaviours in light of this. So, how is the workplace changing?

‘If you are not being intentional in your career, then you’re being accidental’

Unless you have a direction and something you are aiming towards, you will get carried along by other peoples ideas and needs – which will NOT be aligned with yours.

‘Forget the map, and follow a compass’

It is very difficult to plot a specific destination, even if you are a rare individual who knows specifically what they want to do – especially given the changing landscape outlined – but you CAN be moving in the right direction, and adapt as required. Even the best laid plans need monitoring and adjusting as curveballs come your way.

Additionally, if everyone followed the map – we would never have innovation! Disruptive entrepreneurs and businesses – the Ubers, Airbnbs, & Amazons – need to forge their own path.

  1. Which of those resonates with you?
  2. What does career success look like to you in the next 5 years? How about 10 years?
  3. How can you get more satisfaction and sense of accomplishment at work?

Take 5 minutes to think about and write down what career success would look like for you within the next 5 to 10 years. Don’t think about how to get there – or the feasibility – just what success would look like. What’s you can identify this more clearly, career drift is less likely, but certainly still possible.

So, when can you do to identify career drift?

Importantly, once you have identified career drift, what can you do about it? How can you get back to purposeful work?

Former US president Harry Truman famously had a sign on his desk which read;

‘The buck stops here’

Extreme accountability and ownership can be painful in the short run, but in the medium and long term, it will develop you into a credible leader – someone who can be relied upon and trusted. What strategies are there for developing accountability?

Take 10 minutes to consider how you will keep yourself accountable going forward. 

  • Mindset; think about what adjectives your colleagues or friends would  use to describe you when you’re not in the room now, then think about what adjectives you would like them to use. Eg/ Resourceful, Ambitious, Sociable, Bold, Trustworthy, Calm, Reliable.
  • Mentor; consider who in your network you admire who could be a suitable mentor, and ask them if they’d be willing to support you in some capacity. This could be a co-worker, friend or even family member, and they don’t need to work in the same industry as you or understand your challenges. They should just be someone you admire, with characteristic you admire, who is slightly ahead of you either in their career or other goals.
  • Peer-network; consider at least two or perhaps more or your friends or colleagues to use as your peer network, and;
    • 1) Ask them for honest feedback on yourself, to try to identify your blindspots (we all have them!). Remember to take this feedback with a pinch of salt and that you asked for it – we cannot react negatively as a result.
    • 2) Share your short terms and long term goals with them, and ask them theirs in turn. Then agree to meet up at regular intervals, perhaps 6 months or at a timeframe that works for you, to discuss progress. You’ll be amazed at how these meetings will motivate you, before, during and after, and it is so special to share your growth with a friend who hopefully will also be developing.
  • Self-talk; consciously listen to your ‘inner voice’ or ‘inner critic’, for an extended period. How do you describe yourself? You will likely be amazed with how often and the extent to which your inner voice is critical and harsh to yourself – imagine what this can be doing to your self-esteem. Once you’ve noticed this – the next step is actively trying to change this to be nicer to yourself.

    Final points for you

    Now is a good time to step back and reflect and share some thoughts, both with yourself privately and the Edventurous Leadership community. Privately you will have your own way of doing this, with Edventurous Leadership you can tag us in a LinkedIn post or directly message us on there and we will respond.

    If you have a story that captures your journey of career drift that you would like to share to help others please email us it and we will ensure it reaches people that need to hear it.

    Feedback, mentoring and coaching are essential within a workplace and as part of your own professional journey. With teams becoming flatter, coaching and mentoring could become less common and this is a problem as it means less feedback and less time for reflection and growth. We can support with this, so please check out our courses on Coaching here.

    GIST – good ideas for starting things…

    1. Determine your natural strengths with a Clifton strengths finder or Myers-Brigg assessment
    2. Document what career success looks like to you in the next year, 5 years and 10 years. Keep this somewhere safe and revisit it at regular intervals. Even if your plans and intentions change (even the best ones do!), it will be a goood reminder of your ambition, and a necessary reality check if you are drifting.
    3. Proactive schedule time with your boss (if you have one!), and get on record what your career ambitions are, or if you’re not sure, have an open conversation about potential pathways within the organisation

    Want to learn more?

    1. Identify your blindspots with this resource
    2. Read/listen to Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Joyful Life
    3. Listen to Carol Dweck talk about a Growth Mindset
    4. Read/listen to The Obstacle is the Way.