Are your attitudes toward your career hindering or enhancing your career development? Are your beliefs and behaviors positive, growth-oriented, or negative, constraining? Are they in tune with the 21st Century?
To find out, answer "yes" or "no" to the following:
- I learn from my mistakes.
- I'm too old to compete with younger job applicants.
- I know and accept myself.
- I prefer the tried and true ways of doing things.
- Career success is defined personally.
- I do what I "should" rather than what I want.
- I welcome criticism as a way to grow.
- I would not consider relocating for an attractive job elsewhere.
- My successes are the result of hard work, determination and some ability.
- I'll accept a promotion to a job I don't like for money or prestige.
- My job gives my life meaning and direction.
- I'm looking forward to retirement so that I can do what I want.
- I'm flexible, self-reliant and optimistic.
- Career success means having social standing and money to buy the good things.
- I'll take a salary cut to further my career.
Give yourself one point for each "yes" to odd numbered statements, and each "no" to even numbered ones. The higher your score, the more you possess positive, growth-oriented career attitudes; the more you subscribe to the new way of viewing career development. If you scored less than 6, consider reevaluating your career attitudes. Here are some suggestions.
Reevaluate your definition of career development. View career growth as a lifelong process of personal and professional development - a continuing quest to maintain harmony between who you are and what you do. Also see career as an opportunity to express yourself and pursue your mission. This gives you a sense of direction, inner peace and joy.
Know yourself and your options. Identify your skills, major accomplishments, needs, mission and other attributes. Explore options that are compatible with your personal characteristics. Specify your ideal job; include field or industry, title, tasks, type of company and location.
Don't choose an occupation to please others or because experts predict it will be in demand. Rather, select one that is congruent with your personal qualities. If you follow your heart instead of the "shoulds," money may be a by-product.
Take charge of your career. Restructure your thinking to that of creating a job rather than applying for one. Reevaluate your career goals periodically and modify them as you learn more about yourself and your changing environment. Embrace and grow with change. Recognize that you do have options. Testing your options may mean tradeoffs, but usually they're worth the inconvenience.
Continue to learn. Welcome opportunities to discover new technologies and enhance transferable skills, such as computer literacy and verbal communication. Know how to market yourself (your product) to prospective buyers (employers).
Think outside the box. Develop and use your intuition. Take quiet time daily to tune in to your inner self. Meditate. Ask your dreams for direction before going to sleep. Keep a journal. Communicate with nature.
Enhance your optimism. Believe good things will happen. Every time you hear your inner voice criticize, stop and think of something positive to say such as "I'm making progress." Write down things you like about yourself such as "I'm flexible and creative." Post the list where you can see it often.
Exhibit flexibility and resilience. If you've been blocked from attaining your desired career goal, investigate other ways of achieving it.
Learn to risk. View risk-taking as a learning opportunity. Start with small risks in daily activities. Then proceed to more challenging ones. Think of an important risk you'd like to take. What's the worst thing that could happen if it turned out badly? Where can you get information and support to make the goal less risky? Break the goal into small steps. When can you take the first step?
Live in the present. Don't worry about what might happen. Depersonalize failure. View setbacks as learning experiences. Persist.
Have faith that you'll change your attitudes and eventually achieve your goal.